Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour Review: The Inside Scoop

For Ben and Jerry’s fans, the factory tour is a must-visit attraction when you’re in Vermont. It’s a chance to see how those secret flavors are created and to sample some new and exciting ice cream combinations.

But is the tour really worth it? Especially if you’re driving a long way to get there.

Let’s dive into the details of the tour, so you know what to expect and can make the most of your experience.

What is the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour?

The Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour is a tour that allows visitors to witness ice cream production taking place in the original Ben and Jerry’s factory.

Visitors have the opportunity to sample and order select ice cream flavors and even witness, with their own eyes, new flavors getting created. It’s also home to the famous “Flavor Graveyard” where tribute is paid to all of the retired flavors from years past.

Where is the Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour?

The Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour is located in Waterbury, Vermont, about 30 minutes from Burlington, VT. 

Here is the official address: 1281 Waterbury-Stowe Rd Route 100, Waterbury Village Historic District, VT 05676.

Note: It is the only Ben & Jerry’s factory open to the public.

How to book a tour to the factory

You have the option to book a tour either online or in person when you arrive. Here are the prices:

  • Guests aged 13 and over: $6
  • Guests aged 12 and under: $1
  • Guests over 65: $5
  • Military personnel: $3
  • ***There is a $1 service fee

It’s strongly advised that you make a reservation in advance, as certain tours tend to fill up fast. Reservations open up two weeks before your desired date.

At peak times, they offer tours every 15 minutes, and from my own observations, it appears that the early tours are the most sought-after and tend to sell out rapidly. The total tour will last about 30 minutes.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory ticket booth

Our experience at the factory tour

We decided to arrive approximately 30 minutes ahead of our scheduled tour time, allowing us ample opportunity to explore the renowned Flavor Graveyard and wander around the premises a bit.

When you first arrive, there are a few parking lots to choose from, but we opted for the main front lot, which offers free electric vehicle parking. However, most vehicles were being directed towards the rear lot, situated only a few steps from the Flavor Graveyard.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory parking

The Flavor Graveyard serves as a tribute to the “dearly depinted” ice cream flavors.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory flavor graveyard

Here, you’ll encounter retired Ben and Jerry’s flavors of all kinds.

Each headstone provides a glimpse into when that flavor first made its debut, along with its unique flavor profile.

I personally enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the “graveyard,” allowing myself to reminisce about some of the flavors I once loved and even uncovering some new and intriguing ones.

I couldn’t believe that I missed out on the marzipan flavor although to be honest I didn’t know what marzipan was until visiting Toledo, Spain which was a trip we took well after this flavor had been discontinued.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory flavor graveyard tombstone

It’s worth noting that, from time to time, they do bring these flavors “back from the dead.” In fact, you can voice your request and explain why you would like to see a certain ice cream come back.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory flavor graveyard

Following our visit to the Flavor Graveyard, we proceeded to the central factory building and on the way I noticed that there were ample restroom facilities available should you need to go.

One thing I really like about the entire facility is that there are signs that make it really easy to get around.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory

Another nice thing for visitors is that you will run into a lot of different photo opportunities.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory

Additionally, there are chairs provided for those looking to take a load off, relish some downtime, and take in the scenic mountain views (which are quite nice).

Notably, there’s a playground on site to keep the little ones occupied as well.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory

There’s an inviting ice cream shop, the Scoop shop, where they serve up fresh waffle cones and an array of tantalizing flavors (new and old). When we initially arrived, the line wasn’t too daunting, but we were gearing up for our tour, so we decided to hold off.

However, by the time we finished the tour, the line had grown significantly. A sign indicated a 30-minute wait from one point, but the line extended quite a ways beyond that, suggesting that some folks might be in for quite the wait.

Considering the chilly, overcast weather in the 40s (Fº), waiting in a long line for ice cream didn’t quite seem worth it. My advice would be to arrive early for your ice cream fix, especially if you’re visiting on a weekend. Alternatively, you can opt to purchase pints of your favorite flavors directly from the gift shop.

We ventured into the main entrance where the gift shop is situated and took a leisurely browse around.

It’s recommended that you arrive 15 minutes prior to your tour’s scheduled time in this area. We did notice a few folks joining a tour that was departing before their designated slot, so there’s a possibility of getting in earlier if you’re lucky.

Before the tour commences, you can touch base with the staff member at the podium to check in, though it may not be necessary because they’ll officially check you in just before the tour kicks off.

Nevertheless, if you prefer to double-check that everything’s in order, that’s a good time to do so. While we were provided with QR codes for our tickets, they never actually scanned them; they merely asked us to verify our names.

It’s worth noting that the cell service in this area can be quite unreliable, making it difficult to access your digital tickets. You might want to consider taking screenshots in advance, so you’re not dependent on a data connection for them to display.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory

When it’s time for your tour to commence, they’ll ring the cowbell to kick off the check-in process. You’ll then ascend a set of stairs to catch a brief, five-minute film about Ben and Jerry’s. (An elevator is also an option.)

The film touches on the company’s history and their dedication to causes like social justice, providing a pretty well rounded overview of the company.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory

From there, we proceeded to the glassed-in mezzanine, where you can peer through windows down at the factory in action, akin to the experience we had at the Denver Mint.

As you enter this area, you have the chance to snag a small cup with a few delectable morsels of cookie dough, for those who appreciate that classic treat.

Arriving at the viewing floor, I couldn’t help but notice that the factory appeared somewhat smaller than my initial expectations. However, it dawned on me that this was their original factory, so it naturally had a more compact scale.

Our guide offered a wealth of information regarding the various stages of the ice cream-making process, and there’s a screen that illustrates everything he’s discussing in case you don’t have a good view of the factory floor. It’s all pretty fascinating, but it does tend to move at a brisk pace, leaving little room for questions.

Our next stop led us to the “Flavor Room,” where we had the opportunity to sample one of the newer flavors: Butterscotch’d (which made Brad very happy). I’m not a big butter scotch fan so I was not too thrilled about it but it ended up being extremely tasty.

We also had the privilege of observing the creation of a brand-new secret flavor happening right before our eyes!

ben & jerry

Following some additional insights into their global production processes, our visit concluded, and it was time to make our exit.

Ben and Jerry’s Factory

Final word

In summary, I’d definitely recommend a visit to the factory. It’s fun to explore the Flavor Graveyard, where you can reminisce about past flavors you might have tried years ago.

As for the tour itself, at $6, it’s a good deal. I personally found it a bit on the fast side and wished for more time to ask questions, but when the tours are departing every 15 minutes, that’s not really possible.

Additionally, that ice cream line was quite the spectacle. If the sign was accurate, people were looking at a minimum 45-minute wait and possibly even a good deal longer, which does seem a bit extreme for a couple of scoops of ice cream.

Perhaps they could consider a priority line for tour-goers, a pre-order system (before your tour), or something along those lines – that’s just a long time to stand in line for some dang ice cream!