The author, Séamas O´ Maitiú, jokes that the working title was Quaker Bakers go Crackers. The famous bakery was founded in 1851 by two Quaker brothers from Waterford, William and Robert Jacob.
Jacob’s is a brand name for several lines of biscuits and crackers in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The brand name in Ireland is owned by Jacob Fruitfield Food Group and in the UK it is owned under licence by United Biscuits.
The originator of the Jacob’s brand name was the small biscuit bakery, W & R Jacob, founded in 1851 in Bridge Street, Waterford, by William Beale Jacob and his brother Robert. It later moved to Bishop Street in Dublin, Ireland, with a factory in Peter’s Row. A factory in Liverpool was opened in 1914. The Bishop Street premises was one of several prominent Dublin buildings occupied by rebels during the Easter Rising of 1916. In 1922 a separate English company was formed, W & R Jacob (L’pool) Ltd. The two branches separated, with the Dublin branch retaining the W & R Jacob name while the Liverpool branch was renamed Jacob’s Bakery Ltd. In the 1970s, W & R Jacob in Dublin merged with Boland’s Biscuits to form Irish Biscuits Ltd. and moved to Tallaght, Ireland. The Liverpool factory joined Associated Biscuits in 1960, which was purchased by Nabisco in 1982.
In 1990, the two companies once again came under common ownership and became Jacob’s Biscuit Group when they were acquired by the French company Groupe Danone. In July 2004, Groupe Danone and United Biscuits announced that they had made an agreement for the latter to acquire Jacob’s Biscuit Group. With the acquisition of Groupe Danone’s biscuit division by Kraft Foods, the production and sales of Jacob’s biscuits in Malaysia are done through Kraft Foods Malaysia. However, days later Groupe Danone, United Biscuits, and Fruitfield Foods announced that Jacob’s Biscuit Group would be split, with United Biscuits acquiring only the UK portion of the Group and Fruitfield Foods acquiring the Ireland portion. Fruitfield Foods was subsequently renamed the Jacob Fruitfield Food Group and is now part of the Valeo Food Group.
Since their acquisitions, United Biscuits and Jacob Fruitfield Food Group have sparred in court over the use of the Jacob’s brand name.
In 2009, after 156 years of making biscuits in Ireland, Jacob Fruitfield shut its Tallaght plant. 220 jobs were lost while the company retained around 100 staff in a variety of roles.