There is a reason Hammond’s Candies’ free tour ends in the candy gift store, but I digress.
Let’s start with the fact that I haven’t been to Hammond’s in all of my nearly 20 years in Colorado. That is not as weird as the fact that my husband has never been there and he grew up in a Denver burb. Plus, he loves candy. In fact, my retirement plan is to empty his mouth of all its gold teeth and turn that into cash.
I grew up with a mom who cleaned teeth for a living so instead of candy I got fluoride treatments. I am not kidding. To this day, I am cavity-free. Ryan cannot say the same.
How he has lived into his mid-40s without doing the Hammond’s factory tour is beyond my understanding, because Hammond’s is a Colorado icon.
Last Saturday, we took the tour. The facility is located in North Denver at the interchange of Interstate 25 and Interstate 70. It is in a nondescript warehouse district with only a small sign to indicate its existence.
As we walked inside, the smell of sugar immediately slammed us in the face. It’s the smell of an ice cream sugar cone that I associate with old mall food courts. Imagine that smell x100. A look of childlike anticipation came over Ryan’s face.
As written earlier in this post, the tour is free. It starts with a ten-minute video in a purpose-built theater. The video gives a brief history of Hammond’s owners and throws in facts like how many feet of the candy cane is made daily or monthly… honestly, I can’t remember the length of time but I can tell you that it’s a LOT of feet.
The coolest fact is that the factory still uses some of the original candy making machines that they bought in 1920. Proof that things used to be made to last. We recently bought a new washing machine and I was told to expect it to last for about five years, not the 17 years that my old washer had lasted. A sad reflection on our throw-away society. But on with the story.
After the video, we entered the factory portion of the tour and I was thankful that there was a shift working on a Saturday. The place was not as busy as it would be on a weekday but from behind the glass we watched, mesmerized by a man pulling sugar out of a machine and cutting it at just the right place so that each cane could be turned into a candy cane.
You’ve probably had a Hammond’s candy cane. The candy canes sell everywhere, even Target.
The tour guide is informative and she tells the group more of Hammond’s narrative, explains the candy-making process and tells us what we are watching. It’s a short tour that is chockablock with information and questions are welcome.
Now comes the part where you get FREE candy. Yes, at the end of the tour we all got a candy cane and then we were let loose in the Hammond’s gift store which, as one would expect, has a lot of candy.
Over the years, Hammond’s Candies has bought many other brands and so there is everything in the store from chocolate to hard candies to candied popcorn. Honestly, it’s a bit overwhelming. There are buckets and buckets of candy canes and buckets and buckets of marshmallows, a candy Hammond’s has made for 100 years. There are also rows and rows of lollipops.
I don’t know how much money we spent because I deliberately stayed away from the cash register when Ryan bought everything. We bought birthday gifts and Easter gifts and gifts for no reason. This is the ideal spot for buying candy and we made the most of it.
I did buy something specifically for myself. We saw sour balls being wrapped up on the factory floor and I had to have some.
This is a fun, easy event to do with the family and while the tour is free, don’t be fooled. You will buy candy, maybe lots of candy. Time to make that teeth cleaning appointment!
Hammond’s Candies factory tours run every half hour during factory business hours. Go here to plan your visit.
And guess what? To help celebrate Hammond’s 100 year anniversary, my favorite downtown Denver hotel, The Crawford, is running a sweet package. Click HERE the yummy details.