Turns out we have a pretty awesome array of products being made right here in Wisconsin. We’re all so proud of these things that make us unique and taking these tours is a great way to learn about these companies and their production. In no particular order, here are 11 tours you can take to satisfy your curiosity and learn about some great Wisconsin companies:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Trek Bicycles - Waterloo
This tour combines the history of the company with a look at their design lab. Trek is one of the state's most progressive and green companies and the tour highlights those parts as well. Tours are available on Wednesdays on 10 am. Visitors are asked to call ahead and schedule. Located at 801 W Madison St, Waterloo, WI 53594.
2. Palermo's Pizza - Milwaukee
You can come for a simple factory tour or choose from a variety of special tours that include drink pairings and pizza tastings alongside. There are a variety of options and cost levels. Located at 3301 W Canal St., Milwaukee, WI 53208.
3. SC Johnson - Racine
This is the tour for you if you're at all into architecture. SC Johnson has multiple Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings and only recently opened some of them up to the public. Tours are free, but will need to be scheduled in advance. They're popular, so plan ahead, but it's totally worth it. Located at 222 3 Mile Rd, Racine, WI 53402.
4. Twig's Beverage Company - Shawano
If you'd like a tour, you have to call ahead and schedule it here; otherwise it's just a viewing area and museum. But it's totally worth it to plan ahead and learn about this awesome old-fashioned beverage company. They're open 7 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday. Located at 711 S Washington St, Shawano, WI 54166.
5. Kohler - Kohler
Kohler calls this their "Industry in Action" tour. Closed toed shoes are required and they provide safety glasses. The tour is free but reservations are required. They are offered every weekday starting at 8:30. Children under 14 years old are not allowed and the tour takes up to 3 hours. You'll see a wide variety of the products made here and leave wanting to do a total home remodel. Located at 101 Upper Rd, Kohler, WI 53044.
6. Miller Brewing Company - Milwaukee
The state's largest brewery offers tours through their giant facility just west of downtown. Get an insight into bottling, shipping and learn some history. Miller Tours are free of charge and run every 30 minutes. In the summer, tours are from 10 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday, 10 am to 6:30 pm on Saturday and 10 am to 3:30 pm on Sunday. Miller Brewing is located at 4251 West State St., Milwaukee, WI 53208.
7. Hillestad Pharmaceuticals - Woodruff
See various medicines and supplements being made, from the warehouse with more than 5,000 raw ingredients to coating and more. Tours are offered Monday through Friday from 9 am to 3 pm. Located at 178 US-51, Woodruff, WI 54568.
8. Hsu's Ginseng - Wausau
Did you know that Wisconsin produces more ginseng than any other state in the US, by a large margin? This is the country's largest ginseng operation and the tour information will vary depending on when you visit. Tours happen May through September from 9:30 am to 3 pm. They appreciate if you phone ahead for a reservation. Cost is $20 per group. Located at T6819 County Road W, Wausau, WI 54403.
9. Wisconsin Wagon Company - Janesville
These folks have been at it for more than a century. Check out how they manufacture handmade wooden wagons, sleds, wheelbarrows, rocking horses and more. The tour is about an hour long, costs $3 and is offered most weekdays. Call ahead to check their schedule. Located at 507 Laurel Ave, Janesville, WI 53548.
10. Harley Davidson Powertrain Operations - Milwaukee
There's a free factory tour that gives a nice overview of the production here, but for hardcore HD fans, the Steel Toe Tour is a must. It does cost $46, but it's as up close and personal as you can get. The classic tours are from 9 am to 1:30 pm on weekdays. The Steel Toe Tour is at 10 am and 12 pm Monday through Friday. Located at W156 N9000 Pilgrim Rd., Menomonee Falls, WI 53051.
11. Jelly Belly - Pleasant Prairie
This location is now only a storage facility, so you ride a train around and watch some videos, but it's still a fun way to spend some time, especially on a rainy summer afternoon. The tour is about 25 minutes and is free. Plus, the shop you spend time in before and after the tour is a sweet-tooth's dream. Located at 10100 Jelly Belly Ln, Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158.