“ Sightseeing Type: Tours „
All I can say before you even read this review is wow, wow and wow is what I thought of this place! Jelly Belly Beans have always been my favourite sweet and a lot of my family buy them for me for Christmas and Birthdays. I think they are so delicious as they are the only Jelly Beans that truly taste what they should do. When I found out they did factory tours this was why I decided to go to San Francisco (I know it is sad but that's me for you). Here is why it is amazing to visit the factory in Fairfield California.
Fairfield is not near San Francisco centre but it took us about 45 minutes to drive from the airport to the factory. The roads are very good and fast roads because Dave was a bit worried about driving in America but he found it very enjoyable. The airport is about a half hour ride from the centre of San Francisco and quite cheap so we found it easy to get there.
In terms of other transport to get to the factory. I think you can get to Fairfield on public transport as San Francisco has a great system called BART but I do not think you can get to the factory so you might have had to get a taxi to get there.
The factory in Fairfield is on an industrial estate so is not obvious so to be honest we were glad that we had a sat nav as it took us straight there. The good thing is that it is sign posted well from the main roads.
The outside of the building was enough for me to get so over excited (I was already excited just by the journey there). The first thing I noticed was a VW Beetle (my favourite car) but the paint work was Jelly Beans. Amazing!!!!!!!!! The building has a massive Jelly Bean outside and I stayed outside taking pictures for 5 minutes (Again I know I am very sad).
So reluctantly I went inside the building and it was even more amazing. Through the doors and there are Jelly Beans everywhere. Suspended from the ceiling and everywhere was decorated even the toilets. It was great. Inside you have toilets and the cafe to your left, the shop to your right and straight in front of you is the queue to get to the factory tour.
The Factory Tour
I am going to point out now that the factory tour is free!! I repeat that free! Bear in mind it goes on for 40 minutes I think that is great. They give you a Jelly Belly hat that you wear throughout the tour and you can keep it afterwards as a souvenir. Before you go into the factory you get your photo taken in front of the Jelly Belly Bean mascot. The photo is $20 if you want it afterwards. Also when going into the factory you notice that all the board rooms are named after Beans such as Berry Blue room. Great!
So when in the factory you cannot take photos so put those cameras away. They take you through showing you every single stage of how they make Jelly Belly Beans and it is crazy how long it takes and how many they produce. Just millions. They also have stringent processes to get the right shape otherwise they become Belly Flops which you can buy in the shop.
Whilst on the tour it is glass walls everywhere so you can see everything and there are also TV screens at each stage which show you the processes. If you go in the week you will see the factory workers but we went at the weekend so there wasn't any people but this didn't spoil the tour at all.
So the tour takes about 40 minutes and you get a free bag of Jelly Belly beans at the end. I think it was brilliant and even Dave enjoyed it. Plus because it was free that is how I managed to convince Dave to let me have the photo so bonus!
So you finish the tour and then you have to visit the shop. I am not sure how much you know about Jelly Belly Beans but they are not cheap but in this shop everything was a lot cheaper which is what you can expect from a factory shop. They have the huge boxes that are about £24 here for $13 which is brilliant. Then all the smaller packs and boxes were about £3 each which again is very cheap.
What I loved though was that they had everything you could ever want in this shop so the choice was amazing. It is a pretty big shop! Dave who usually doesn't let me indulge in such things just told me to go mad and that is what I did. I even got a dispenser machine which was about $18 which is very cheap! All in all I spent $160 in there which I know is crazy but we got all of our presents for people from here.
The shop is amazing and takes travellers cheques too which was good as we got them for our Honeymoon without realising they are going out of fashion everywhere. Plus you can buy Belly Flops for $9 each and it is a massive bag!
Ok the last thing I need to tell you about is the cafe. I actually made Dave go here just to sample the Bean flavoured food. We had pizza shaped like a bean and it was yummy. Really enjoyed it. They also have Burgers shaped like beans and the pizza only cost us $5 which was not bad to share.
Also they have a penny press machine for sad people like me who like to collect them.
I think you can guess from my review that I thought everything was amazing. Dave knew this by the amount I bought and he couldn't even carry all of the bags as they were so heavy. I think the tour being free is a great idea as they can then make their money in the shop and if you are as crazy about Jelly Belly beans as me you will love this place.
We went to the California Fairfield factory and San Francisco is an amazing place anyway so if you visit then trust me it is a worthwhile excursion to come here. Five big stars!!!!!!!!
Thanks for reading.
Step into our factory and smell the aroma of chocolate, apricot, cinnamon or pineapple, whatever is being cooked up that day. A visit to our candy making factory in Fairfield, Calif., located about an hour's drive north of San Francisco, is a sugary delight.