The roots of Masterson Foods run as deep as those of Wisconsin itself. It all began in 1848, the same year Wisconsin became a state, when Scottish immigrant A.H. Johnston established a confectionery and cracker company right here in Milwaukee. However, it wasn’t until 1899 when his son Robert built the first factory that production lines began churning out chocolates and other toppings for the first time.  This factory was lost in a fire and the present day location was established in 1923.   The area around the Company, built on the bluffs of the Menominee Valley, soon became known as Silver City largely because this seven story red brick building was complete with a bank vault to house the silver dollars needed for payday.  Up until the late 1940’s, employees would get their silver and spend it in the neighboring shops.   The surrounding area on payday was literally ‘silver’ city.


Now known as Masterson Foods, we are the same great family owned and operated company with a proud historical significance.   To this day, Milwaukeeans still mistakenly call us ‘the cookie company’ even though we haven’t baked a cookie or marketed a candy product for decades.   Masterson continues to be a premier supplier of ingredients to the ice cream and dessert industry but also is an innovative partner in developing savory formulas.    We continue to produce the same great quality products we have always been known for, and are always expanding our capabilities.    We welcome you to check out our Family oriented culture and our food product capabilities.   All of us at Masterson Foods look forward to many more years of ‘sweet’ success in the Milwaukee area we have known as our home for over 150 years.

Fun Facts





The Johnston Company and Milwaukee Braves teamed up for baseball cards from 1953-1955.


Our historic company became well known as the developer of the first commercial hot fudge, the graham cracker pie crust, and even the microwaveable ice cream sundae.


Due to silver coins paid out to employees from our bank-style vault up until the 1940’s, the surrounding area was widely known as “Silver City”.  Today, the vault is a mini-museum showcasing the history of our company.



View the Masterson Landmark on the Milwaukee County Historical Society website.