Enric Bernat, 80; Creator of Famous Spanish Lollipop

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Enric Bernat, 80, creator of Spain’s world-famous Chupa Chups lollipop, died of undisclosed causes Saturday at his home in Barcelona.

A native of Catalonia and a third-generation candy maker, Bernat took over an ailing Spanish confectioner in 1957 and reduced its 200 products to a single line of quality lollipops aimed at children.

The first Chupa Chups -- the name is taken from the Spanish verb chupar, which means to lick or suck -- went on sale in 1958 with a daisy-shaped logo by Spanish artist Salvador Dali, a family friend.

Within five years, the lollipops were on sale at about 300,000 outlets in Spain. Breaking from the tradition of keeping candy in glass jars behind the counter, the company instructed shopkeepers to place the lollipops as close to the cash register as possible.

The Barcelona-based company launched an international expansion drive in the 1980s, and now 90% of its Chupa Chups sales are abroad, with more than 50 flavors tailored to tastes in 170 countries.