If you’re looking for a literal highlight while visiting the Mile High City, a free factory tour of Hammonds Candies is a real treat. Not only will you learn a bit of Colorado history and tidbits about nostalgic candy, you’ll also get an up close and personal experience with delicious candies and the people who make them. Depending on the season, you may see how Hammonds’ famous, handcrafted candy canes, ribbon candy, and lollipops are pulled, twisted, and shaped by hand – just as they’ve always been for over 90 years. At the end of the 30-minute tour, your sweet tooth will be aptly rewarded!
The oldest handmade candy maker in America got its start in1920. After working several years as an apprentice in a candy factory, Carl T. Hammond, Sr. founded Hammond’s Candy Company in Denver. He was inspired to become an entrepreneur after creating his first original candy, Honey Ko Kos, which were chocolates topped with shredded coconut. At first, Carl did it all— developed recipes, made the candy, sold the candy, and was his own office staff. In 1945, Carl T. (Tom) Hammond, Jr. joined the family business, and after his father passed away, Tom took the helm and the business continued to flourish. Hammonds Candies remained a family business until it was sold in 1999. With the sale of the company came huge growth. Hammonds expanded from a small factory with 10 employees, to a 35,000 square foot facility with over 120 employees.
Ending your factory tour in Hammonds’ gift shop can be a little dangerous— to your waistline! No matter what you crave— lollipops, caramel corn, taffy, chocolate, hard candies— you will find it en masse and in beautiful packaging. Hammonds produces many seasonal candies, too, and is the nation’s largest producer of handmade candy canes. Don’t leave without at least one of their award-winning gourmet chocolate bars. Some newer flavors such as “Red Velvet Cake” and “Pigs N’ Taters” (a rich mix of chocolate, potato chips and crispy kosher bacon bits) were named Most Innovative New Product of the Year in 2012 by the National Confectioner’s Association. You can taste why— Hammonds uses only all-natural ingredients, including pure cane sugar, real milk and cream, and naturally-sourced flavors.
The next time you’re in Denver, it’s worth the calorie splurge to see first-hand how Hammonds Candies are made. But if you don’t get a chance to take the factory tour, you can find their sweet indulgences at various larger retailers such as Whole Foods, Cost Plus, Sur La Table, Steinmart, Nordstrom’s, Dean & Deluca, and Cracker Barrel.
IF YOU GO:
Free candy factory tours run every half hour, Monday-Friday 9:00am – 3:00pm and Saturdays 10:00am – 3:00pm (closed Sundays).Tours last approximately 30 minutes and can accommodate up to 50 people.
5735 N Washington Street
Denver, CO 80216
In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com