The 7 Best Factory Tours in America


Notice: Undefined variable: adoptadspacesharing in /home/vogel/public_html/wp-content/plugins/adsenseoptimizer/adsenseoptimizer.php on line 456

Notice: Undefined variable: adoptadspacesharing in /home/vogel/public_html/wp-content/plugins/adsenseoptimizer/adsenseoptimizer.php on line 456

Notice: Undefined variable: adoptadspacesharing in /home/vogel/public_html/wp-content/plugins/adsenseoptimizer/adsenseoptimizer.php on line 456

If you’re hitting, try to work one of these fun factory tours into your itinerary. There’s something on this list for everyone, from airplane enthusiasts to whiskey connoisseurs.

Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour and Ice Cream Shop in Waterbury, Vermont

Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour and Ice Cream Shop in Waterbury, Vermont © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour and Ice Cream Shop in Waterbury, Vermont © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Learn how one of America’s favorite ice creams is made, from farm to freezer. View the production room from a glassed-in mezzanine, and enjoy the sample of the day. After the tour, wander through the Flavor Graveyard to pay your respects to beloved flavors of years past.

Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas

Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Nestled below the triangle of Houston, Austin, and San Antonio is the old Czech-German town of Shiner, home to a beer by the same name crafted at the 109-year-old Spoetzl Brewery.

Tour the modern brew house with its gleaming copper kettles to the bottling room, where seemingly infinite lines of brown bottles are filled, capped, pasteurized, labeled, and boxed.

Included in the price of admission (free!) is a visit to the hospitality room and a firsthand sampling of the final product, from flagstaff Shiner Bock to Kosmos, Wicked Ram IPA to Texas Heat Wave, and several seasonals. There you can pay homage to the state’s German and Czech heritage with a fresh-poured cup of one of the six or seven beers brewed on-site. The first one comes with three wooden nickels that can each be redeemed for another free beer. Prosit!

Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania

ulius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery, established in 1861, is the first commercial pretzel bakery in America. Now, all these years later, the bakery is still operated by the Sturgis family using the same old-fashioned recipe and methods originally established by Julius Sturgis.

Visitors can tour the original 19th century pretzel bakery, get a hands-on lesson in pretzel twisting, see old-fashioned soft pretzels being made by hand, see the original ovens built by Julius Sturgis in 1861, and learn the history of pretzel making in America. Everyone receives a complimentary sample of their “Little Ones” hard pretzels at the end of each tour.

Cape Cod Potato Chips in Hyannia, Massachusetts

Cape Cod Potato Chips in Hyannia, Massachusetts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

ulius Sturgis Pretzel Cape Cod Potato Chips in Hyannia, Massachusetts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

The Cape Cod factory tour is something RVers and other road foodies have taken advantage of since 1985. Potato chip fans from across the country take the factory tour and learn how Cape Cod Potato Chips transitioned from a home kitchen recipe to full-blown factory operation. Tour goers discover how potatoes shipped from farmers’ fields directly to the Spudnick, a device that places potatoes onto a conveyer belt for review, and also get a glimpse of the staff that hand stirs the chips while cooking.

Tabasco Factory in Avery Island, Louisiana

Tabasco Factory in Avery Island, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Tabasco Factory in Avery Island, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

The Tabasco Tour adventure began with the requisite factory tour. The tour is free and takes about 30 minutes. The tour guide takes you through several production areas, relating interesting facts and details about the operation and its history.

After going through the tour you finish up with a short video presentation that gives you history of the McIhenny Family and their five generations of Tabasco sauce making experience. The best part? They give you numerous mini-bottles of Tabasco at the end of the tour.

Following the factory tours head right over to the Tabasco Factory Store.

Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

The Wild Turkey Distillery tour begins and ends in the new visitor center with a gift shop and tasting room. Inspired by the silhouette of Kentucky tobacco barns, the visitor center has an unbeatable view of the Kentucky River and its bridge and unique railroad trestle.

The tasting room houses the original copper still from the old Wild Turkey distillery. We walked down the gallery hall and read about the distillery’s history and looked through memorabilia that dates back to before prohibition. Each rickhouse is seven stories tall, and the elevation of where each barrel is aged greatly influences its flavor. The Barrel to Bottle tour includes the tasting of four bourbons.

Rebecca Ruth Candies in Frankfort, Kentucky

Rebecca Ruth Candies in Frankfort, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

Drinking it isn’t the only way to enjoy Kentucky bourbon. That’s why your tour of the Bluegrass should also include a trip to a candy shop. A Kentucky schoolteacher-turned-entrepreneur named Ruth Hanly Booe is credited with inventing bourbon candy.
Candy made using her secret recipe is still sold by Ruth Booe’s descendants at Rebecca Ruth Candies. Your factory tour includes the story of Ruth Hanley Hooe, a museum of olden candy making equipment, a view of the candy production line, and a bourbon ball sample.

Worth Pondering…

Who dares nothing, need hope for nothing.

—Friedrich Schiller

Leave a Reply