Making ice cream is both incredibly easy and super-complicated. You just add milk to a freezer and churn it up, right? Well, apparently not, especially when it’s being produced on an industrial scale. Case in point: Ben & Jerry’s, which hosts daily tours of its Waterbury, Vt., production facility.
We had the opportunity to take a guided tour through their production process, and while taking photos is strictly verboten, the team was kind enough to send some photos of the factory floor over for a rare, behind-the scenes look at the process.
After visitors watch a brief movie about the history of the renowned ice cream company, the tour guide brings them to a bridge that looks out over the production room, which is actually smaller than one might think. Because everything is so automated, it requires only a few workers to be in the room itself at all times. Each machine is numbered, which makes it easy to know what you’re looking at as the guide walks you through the process (otherwise your guess would be as good as anyone's). It’s a complicated procedure, involving lots of tanks, pipes, freezers, and quality control, but there’s a jolly, Willy Wonka-like atmosphere in there, no doubt helped along by the constant upbeat din of '60s music.
The factory floor is almost too much to take in as you stand on the bridge overlooking it all. But if you pay attention to the guide, it all makes sense. For the first time ever, here’s a step-by-step guide to the Ben & Jerry’s production process, complete with photos from their Waterbury, Vt. plant.
Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.