- #10 - Boudin Bakery in San Francisco, CA. During this tour visitors can watch the famous Boudin bread being made right before their eyes. A glass catwalk gives you a birdseye view of the 12,000 loaves of bread that are made every day. They also offer bread sampling in a tasting room.
- #9 - Jelly Belly Visitor Center in Fairfield, CA. Wear pants with deep pockets, since this tour is said to leave your pockets full of free jelly beans. You can watch the bean-making behind the scenes during a forty minute walking tour, but you need to do it during the week since the factory shuts down on weekends and holidays.
- #8 - Greenwell Kona Coffee Farms in Kealakekua, HI. I'm not sure I could stand to take this tour since I am not a coffee drinker or don't even enjoy the smell of coffee. But, if you do enjoy the smell and taste, you are in for a great time since you get a cup of free coffee at the end of the tour as well as free samples of their products. During the tour you get to see how the coffee beans are harvested on a working Hawaii farm in your 30-minute guided tour.
- #7 - Cabot Visitor Center, Cabot, VT. When you visit Vermont's Cabot Creamery you can learn about the history of the creamery which dates back to 1919. During the tour you will have a chance to see how they make their cheese and then have a chance to sample the different cheeses. Naturally, you can purchase their products in the company's Visitor Center.
- #6 - PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, CT. Would love to take a tour of this place. I used to have quite a few PEZ dispensers and still buy them for my grandkids at Christmas time. The 4,000-square-foot visitors center includes the production room and factory store. The self-guided factory tour lets you see how the candy, as well as the collectible dispensers, is made while looking through windows. While visiting you get a chance to sign up to win a free PEZ dispenser which I assume is loaded with their sugary treat.
- #5 - Celestial Seasonings factory tour in Boulder, CO. You can see tea being made during the 45-minute factory tour which takes you through the tour to see the ingredients blended, packaged and then put on the line for shipping. Free samples of the tea are given as well as being able to visit their Tea Shop to purchase the variety of teas they make.
- #4 - Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, PA. OK, now you've come to one of the factory tours that I have taken.
Photograph of the Hershey Chocolate Factory in 1905. Factory as it appears today.
- #3 - Hammond's Candies Factory in Denver, CO. This free tour starts with a video, a tour of the candy shop and a tour of the real-world Willy Wonka factory where you can watch workers making candy in massive kettles, coloring it, cutting it and packaging it. There is no mention of getting any free candy during this tour, but I can't help but believe you can't find a piece or two somewhere on the floor of the factory.
- #2 - Tabasco Pepper Sauce Factory in Avery Island, LA. This tour is said to be a tour like no other. During the tour you get to see the spicy sauce aged in white oak barrels as well as being bottled and shipped. But, since the factory is located on a salt dome island, the tour includes a 170-acre jungle garden, marshes that are home to alligators and wildlife and a country store where you can pick up goodies to take home.
- #1 - DRUM ROLL PLEASE! This is also a tour that I took a few years ago and even have posted a story about taking the tour. The factory is the Herr's Snack Factory in Nottingham, PA.
Front of the Herr's Snack Factory. Photo of the packaging line.
So there you have the list of favorite factory tours. I'm sure you have probably been on some memorable tours during your life, but if you ever happen upon one of these locations described above, stop and enjoy the tour and a few free snacks. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.