Jelly Belly Center - Pleasant Prairie
Formerly Goelitz Confectionery Co., the Jelly Belly Co.'s local roots go back to the 1830s, when German immigrants Gustav Goelitz, 24, and his brother Albert, 21, began making candy in Belleville, Ill. The brothers' business failed in the Panic of 1893, but Gustav's sons, Adolph, Gus Jr. and Herman started again in Cincinnati in 1898. When they needed to expand in 1913, they built a factory in North Chicago, where it still stands today.
In those days, the company made "mellocreams," a butter-based candy molded into various shapes, and became especially well known for their candy corn. Today, Jelly Belly still makes candy corn with the original recipe and by the same method, merely brought up to date through automation.
After World War I, one of the brothers went out to the West Coast and founded Herman Goelitz Candy Co. It was there, in 1976, that Jelly Belly jelly beans were born. They were a huge hit and when the California company couldn't meet demand, they turned to their Illinois cousins for help. Ultimately the two Goelitz companies united, and renamed the joint firm for their most famous product. Today jelly beans comprise more than 80 percent of their business, but they still make some of the country's best candy corn, too.
This Wisconsin facility serves as a warehouse and distribution center and hosts free tours, a train ride that circles the building, stopping at stations where video monitors show how they make candy corn, jelly beans, gummies and more. It also includes the Jelly Belly Snack Bar, which sells sandwiches, hot dogs and other kid-friendly fare, and an outlet store with a sampling bar.