Jelly Belly founder launches Gold Ticket treasure hunt, and the winner gets their own candy factory

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It seems like something straight out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory: the man behind Jelly Belly has launched a nationwide treasure hunt for golden tickets, and the winner could receive their very own candy factory.

David Klein’s Jelly Belly took the world by storm in 1976 with its lineup of colorful jelly beans, which used natural ingredients to offer intense, gourmet-quality flavors such as strawberry daiquiri, coffee, French vanilla, pink lemonade, and even buttered popcorn.

Klein sold his stake in the wildly popular jelly bean company in 1980. However, the candy creator now runs a company called Spectrum Confections that specializes in CBD-infused gourmet jelly beans, including such beloved mainstays as toasted marshmallow, piña colada, strawberry cheesecake, cinnamon, mango, and spicy licorice.

This is The Candyman..want to thank everyone who helped make our CBD jelly beans a world wide success. Overnight success that took 44 years…

Posted by David Klein on Saturday, August 1, 2020

And as Klein’s storied career reaches its end, the inventor is marking his coming retirement with a series of treasure hunts for golden tickets.

In a video message posted online last week, Klein said that the big winner will receive the keys to their very own candy factory. Thousands of dollars in prizes are also up for grabs.

It certainly reads like something ripped straight from the pages of Roald Dahl’s beloved 1965 children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – but don’t expect the tickets to be hidden in the candy you’ll find on grocery store shelves.

“David and his partner have started going across the USA hiding gold style tickets in the form of necklaces in places they come across with an interesting story,” noted a press release from the company. “Plans are to have multiple treasure hunts for these gold tickets in each state.”

One treasure hunter in all 50 states will be able to win a prize of $5,000, while the lucky participant who wins the candy factory winner must track down the “ultimate treasure.”

“You will be looking for a Gold Ticket in the form of a necklace with a tag that includes a code you need to use to verify your find,” according to contest rules.

The candy factory is actually one of Klein’s “Candyman Kitchens,” a 4,000-square foot property located in Florida. It remains unknown what the actual value of the factory is.

The winner will also receive an all-expenses paid trip and tuition for candy-making courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

However, the contest isn’t free. Participants must pay $49.99 to receive the riddle specific to their state. The website to enter the contest has already crashed due to the heavy influx of traffic, while a gold ticket Facebook group has also gone live and attracted tens of thousands of members in a matter of days.

Needless to say, demand for the golden tickets is extremely high.

“Each treasure hunt has a strict limit of 1,000 participants,” added Klein.

Klein is excited about how well the contest has already been received.

“The world needs this right now, we have received thousands of comments from people who say this has come at such a perfect time,” Klein told ABC7.