On a recent road trip, we found ourselves driving through Vermont. Stunning, absolutely gorgeous Vermont.
As we were cruising along, enjoying the greenery rolling by, something popped into my head.
Why does that ring a bell? Of course! Ben & Jerry’s ice cream! A quick Google search later, and we were on our way to Waterbury, Vermont, home of the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour!
In a nutshell:
- Yes, the tour is rather quick at only 30 minutes.
- No, you’re not allowed to take pictures inside the factory during the tour.
- Yes, you get free samples at the end of the tour.
- No, it’s sadly not all-you-can-eat.
It’s a short tour, but it’s also priced right at a mere $4 for adults (and free for all kids 12 and under). I mean, really: How can you go wrong?
The tour begins with a quirky video about the history of the brand, and then the group is led through a few rooms with windows down onto the processing floor. The tour guide gives a spiel about how the ice cream is made, answers some questions, and then leads you into the tasting room.
The sample flavor changes daily, and we were treated to the phenomenal Americone Dream. Everyone is given a cup with a sizeable scoop (maybe scoop and a half). Obviously, this was the highlight.
- There is an ice cream graveyard up the hill from the factory, with headstones for all of the retired flavors.
- Ben & Jerry’s had to discontinue production of the White Russian flavor because they were singlehandedly driving up the price of Kahlua.
- Ben and Jerry still live in Vermont, but they no longer have a financial stake in the company.
- Employees are given several pints of ice cream to take home every day. This is quite the perk.
- Ben & Jerry’s, probably because they give their employees so much free ice cream, has a decent benefits package. All full-time employees receive free gym memberships (to work off all those Cherry Garcia calories).
Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. And apparently they sell out quickly during busy seasons. Hours vary by time of year, but they are open surprisingly late. We took a 7:30 pm tour.
Verdict: Again, for $4, how can you go wrong? Keep your expectations within reason, and don’t expect a VIP tour around the factory floor. The kids loved seeing all the machinery, the ice cream screaming along the conveyer belts, and the free sample. If you’re in the area or passing through, definitely take the opportunity. Recommended.