“Fortune Favors the Pecans” as Chef Eric Rupert’s company grows up

On the heels of expanding into a massive Cottage Grove production facility, chef Eric Rupert’s candied nut company, formerly Nutkrack, launched a new, updated brand on May 15th, 2023. The company will continue to grow nationally as Fortune Favors, using the tagline “Nuts, Enchanted” on their premium candied pecans. Along with playful new artwork and packaging, Fortune Favors will launch new flavors and products under their new label.

Chef and co-founder Eric Rupert is embracing a new season for his business, which has garnered a cult-like following in the Midwest. Over the past 5 years, the business has grown from one small retail shop with a single product to a Madison food-scene powerhouse, with 7-figure wholesale AND e-commerce sales including 50+ retail partners in and around Dane County. To keep up with demand, Rupert’s team moved production and operations from the 2,000-square-foot retail shop into a 19,000-square-foot facility with a one-million-pound production capacity. 

With this fast-paced growth, Rupert and his team felt a need to move toward a brand that matched the quality and experience of their product. “97% of people remember their first taste of our candied pecans…that’s incredible,” says Rupert, referencing statistics learned through customer research in the branding process. Rupert sees the candied nuts as the pinnacle of his career as a chef and maker. “I have cooked for hundreds of thousands of people over 45 years of being a chef. I’ve never seen a response like this to anything I’ve made — nothing creates so much joy and togetherness.” 

The original flavors (Sweet & Salty Classic, Everything, and Firekracker, now called The Spicy) will still be crafted from the same ingredients in small batches by the team’s legacy staff. Upgraded, recyclable packaging will feature a universe of fantastic creatures, maintaining and expanding the playfulness and nostalgia the brand is known for. Alongside the new branding, a new automated packaging line and upgraded cooking equipment will allow Fortune Favors to continue to scale. Six of the new Fortune Favors packaged items will be carried on shelves in all Midwest region Whole Foods Market locations, with expansion to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast WFM regions coming later in 2023. In addition, Rupert has new flavors and confections in the works for Fortune Favors.

To celebrate the new brand launch, Fortune Favors has a busy summer calendar of events. In addition to launch parties at the Fortune Favors retail store and production facility, they will share the new brand and merchandise with customers at major retail partners including Metcalfe’s and all Willy Street Co-op locations. CEO Sam McDaniel and a small army of brand ambassadors plan to give away free pecans and merchandise at Madison summer events and happy hours. 

Events, promos, and product giveaways will be promoted on the new Fortune Favors website, fortunefavorsnuts.com, Facebook, and Instagram. Free samples are always available at the Fortune Favors flagship retail location at 2086 Atwood Avenue in Madison.

Rupert and his co-owners COO Jessica Benish and McDaniel have always placed a high importance on giving back, collaborating with the Goodman Center Food Pantry, Overture Center, the Urban League of Greater Madison and others to benefit the community. Creating an employee-first business that can sustain staff is key to Fortune Favor’s values, offering an average hourly pay rate of over $20/hour with PTO, health insurance, and generous paid holidays starting day one of employment. “Our number one product is a good job, and our number two product is nuts to sell out the front door,” says Benish. 

Rupert concludes, “At the end of the day, I feel like my purpose in this lifetime is to use the gifts that I’ve been blessed with to bring joy and happiness to others.”

After years of sharing homemade candied pecans with his closest family and friends, Rupert launched Fortune Favors (formerly Nutkrack) in 2018. He says he is still astounded by the moments of joy his pecans elicit whenever someone takes their first bite. 


 Media contact for Fortune Favors is Carolyn George, reachable at carolyn@nutkrack.com or 262-995-8530.

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