I do eat normal food, honestly I do. But when it comes to food and travel I just can’t help but share anything that satisfies the sweet tooth! Ice cream, cake, sweets, you name it, it’s the one area of eating where I’m not fussy. Can you believe that I don’t eat cheese (just don’t say that in Wisconsin!)…believe me, that one is a nightmare when it comes to living in America! So imagine my joy at discovering you can have a FREE tour of the Jelly Belly jelly bean warehouse in Pleasant Prairie (Wisconsin), right here in the Midwest!
What you can expect from the Jelly Belly Factory Tour
The Jelly Belly Express Train won’t leave unless you’re wearing a Jelly Belly hat!
Embrace the fun! You’re in a warehouse with a GIANT jelly bean with a big smiley face on flying overhead! I spent most of the tour with my hat trying to pop off my head as it was really tight. I half questioned in my head that maybe it’s because the hats were aimed at small children and they were just humouring us adults. Turns out it was just me being thick and not knowing how to operate a paper hat. They do in fact fit heads of all sizes so there’s no excuses!!
The tour is of the warehouse, it’s NOT a working sweet factory.
…but even then you don’t actually pay any attention to the warehouse shelving! The Jelly Belly Express does a circuit of the warehouse which takes around 30 minutes to complete. The tour is a mixture of spoken commentary and watching TV screens mounted on the outer walls. It covers everything from the history of the Jelly Belly company to how jelly beans are made.
Did You Know?
- The company first started in 1869
- Candy corn was one of their original products!
- The jelly bean was inspired by Turkish Delight
- In World War II, they started producing mints due to sugar rations
- 18 BILLION Jelly Beans are made each year
- Jelly Belly jelly beans as we know it, came around in 1976. The first flavours produced included: very cherry, cream soda and green apple
- Buttered popcorn was the first savoury flavoured jelly bean
- Jelly Belly beans are flavoured with real flavourings, for example, coconut jelly beans include real coconut flakes
- A jelly bean contains only 4 calories!
- Jelly Belly sell and make more than just jelly beans, such as: gummis, chocolate, fudge and sugared almonds.
- They also created the Harry Potter sweet range!
Marvel at the Jelly Belly Art Gallery
Due to the huge variety of jelly bean colours, people have used them to create collaged art masterpieces! They look great from afar and really cool close up! Being a Brit, I was happy to see that Queen Elizabeth II and Margret Thatcher both had their own Jelly Belly portraits! There’s also a section of the tour where you can even see clothing made from jelly beans! (It would be no good for me, I’d probably end up munching on myself if I got hungry…)
There is a slight ‘A Small, Small World’ feel to the tour!
I laughed and said to my buddy at the start of the tour:
“I’m going to be really creeped out if this is anything like the Small Small World ride at Disney”.
Seriously, that ride is weird.
And guess what, on the very last stretch of the tour you pass a row of jelly beans doing the Can Can and I was transported right back to that really annoying Disney ride.
You’re never too old to have a photo with Mr Jelly Belly!
Mr Jelly Belly has been the company mascot since 1983! Just like the hats, embrace the fun and have a picture with an icon, no one will judge you!
Belly Flops may be the rejects but they still taste yummy!
To be an official Jelly Belly jelly bean, every single one has to be EXACTLY the same shape and size. If it’s even slightly different, it gets rejected! But these don’t go to waste, they get rebranded as ‘Belly Flops’ which you can buy in giant 2lb discounted bags! I bought a bag of the sours mix purely because I loved the ‘Belly Flop’ name (easily pleased). They still taste just as good as a regular bean and to my untrained jelly bean eye, I couldn’t even see the difference between some of them!
The candy store is HUGE
Of course I made a beeline for the pressed penny machine! But the shop has a whole heap of Jelly Belly stuff! Of course there’s every type of Jelly Belly sweet available as well as clothing and every type of souvenir you can think of!
Make sure you try a whole bunch of flavours at the FREE sample bar!
If you’re unsure of what jelly bean flavour to buy (you can buy pre boxed flavours or you can ‘pix n mix’) the sample bar has a ton of flavours you can sample! They have everything from the nice flavours, to the ‘Harry Potter Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans’ flavours that include vomit, sausage and dirt!
LOCATION: Jelly Belly Center, 10100 Jelly Belly Lane, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin 53158
The Jelly Belly Center is located 30 minutes south of Milwaukee and 15 minutes south west of Kenosha.
What’s your favourite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavour? I discovered that due to the natural flavour of the beans, you can mix them to create jelly bean cocktails! My favourite combinations are:
Cherry Apple: 2x sour apple + 1x sour cherry
Cherry Lemonade: 2x sour lemon + 2x sour cherry
The Jelly Belly Factory tour is free to visit. I was there as part of a trip with Visit Kenosha but as always opinions are my own.