We were expecting the creator of Crackheads candy to be some goofball from California in his 40s, wearing a rumpled "Legalize Weed" t-shirt that made him look 23 ... or something like that.
We weren't expecting John Osmanski.
Osmanski, 28, is the earnest if a tad talkative mastermind behind Crackheads. We chatted with him today at the All Candy Expo at McCormick Place, where he was showing off his latest product, Crackheads2.
Crackheads are chocolate-covered espresso beans. Crackheads2 are Crackheads with added caffeine. And for the record, Osmanski is not making light of drug abuse.
He says the name of the candy comes from a term he used while a student at the Milwaukee School of Engineering to refer to his parents, professors, friends and anyone else around him who drank coffee incessantly. They were ridiculously helpless when they didn't get their daily caffeine fix -- crackheads.
In the beginning (and by that, we're talking 2007) he made batches of the candy by hand using a double boiler. The business has grown quickly and considerably since then.
Osmanski, who is now in law school part-time, has caught some flack for the name -- angry e-mails mostly. He responds with a form lettter.
"We're not trying to make fun of any drug usage," he says. "We're poking fun at people drinking coffee all the time."
So you know: The candy is sold under the less offensive name, Jitterbeans, depending on the store.