You have probably noticed that we may have a little bit of a sweet tooth. It seems like in almost every city, we find at least one place to sample some sweet treats. Usually it’s chocolates or ice cream, but there are plenty of other options that we have found during our travels. In Kenosha, Wisconsin, we had an opportunity to tour the Jelly Belly Distribution Center, which offers FREE tours at Jelly Belly Junction. This was a sweet way to begin our visit to the first Wisconsin city we have featured on our website.
We want to thank Visit Kenosha and Jelly Belly for their hospitality. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
Tour Time at Jelly Belly Junction
The Jelly Belly warehouse is actually located in Pleasant Prairie, which is a suburb of Kenosha. Since it is located on the southwest edge of the city, it made sense for us to stop there first. When we arrived, we noticed a school bus approaching. It looks like we wouldn’t be alone on this train ride. While we waited for our tour, we took some time to explore the Candy Store. Here we discovered just how many products Jelly Belly produces. We found mints, Jordan almonds, gummy treats, fruit snacks, caramel corn, and even fresh fudge. Even before our tour began, we were learning a lot about the company. The train returned to Jelly Belly Junction and everyone headed out to load up for the tour.
Heading Back in Time
After a few housekeeping tips, it was time to begin our train tour. The ride takes visitors on a path around the warehouse, with stops that give some background on the company. To get to the start, you have to go back to the 1860s. That is when Gustav Goelitz first arrived in America. He began a confectionery, and soon his brothers arrived to help him out. In those days, mallow-cremes were all the rage, and Gustav was very successful in selling his varieties. One of the biggest sellers was candy corn, which is still quite popular in the Fall. Gustav’s son, Herman, moved to California and began his own candy company. In the 1960s, about 100 years after its start, the Herman Goelitz Candy Company expanded their candy varieties to include mini jelly beans. California Governor Ronald Reagan became a huge fan in 1966.
The Changing Landscape of Jelly Beans
As we continued our tour of Jelly Belly Junction, we passed an assortment of decorative panels that were decorated completely with Jelly Belly candies. These artistic displays include famous characters from history, as well as some general designs. Each stop along the tour provided information on the history and creation of this unique candy. Other jelly bean manufacturers were only flavored in the outer shells. Jelly Belly used natural flavors throughout the candy, including the shell. Video monitors show how the candies are created, and they also have some of the older versions of the candy making machinery.
Unexpected Uses for Jelly Beans
One of the more unique displays at Jelly Belly Junction is the Candy Couture. A row of dresses, adorned with Jelly Bellies, make a brightly colored fashion statement. There was even one that serves as a wedding dress. Would any of you be willing to walk down the aisle in this getup?
With our tour complete, we departed Jelly Belly Junction and headed back into the Candy Store. We spent a few more minutes looking around, and even sampled a few of the 50 flavors of Jelly Bellies. There were a few items that we considered buying for our kids, but since we were at the beginning of our Kenosha visit, we decided to wait.
Time to Head Back to the Road
Our first stop had been a sweet and informative experience. Even though this was our first blogging visit to Wisconsin, it was already feeling like home away from home. We could already tell that Kenosha was going to be a great place to explore. If all of the stops were as delicious as this one, we’d have to kick up our walking to burn off all of this fun. Now that we had our sugar rush going, it was time to head downtown and see what other treats we could uncover. How many of you would enjoy the FREE tour at Jelly Belly Junction?