Jelly Belly Founder Launches Golden Ticket Game

You could even win a candy factory.

As a concept for a book or a film, the idea of awarding an underprivileged family the opportunity to take over your fanciful candy factory is weird… but works.

In real life, would I want to watch Augustus Gloop fall into a chocolate river or Violet Beauregarde turn into a massive blueberry? Not really. And while this next story has some of the same components -- a golden ticket game with a free factory at the end -- it’s entirely Oompa Loompa free. Oh, and it’s still super weird.

The inventor of the Jelly Belly brand beans, a man named David Klein who also goes by the nickname ‘Candyman,’ has launched a national competition he’s calling ‘The Gold Ticket.’ He’s created his own treasure hunt but, instead of slipping gold wrappers into candy bars a la Wonka, he’s charging participants an entry fee to join a nationwide game in search of a gold-colored dog tag worth $5,000. There is one hidden in each state, with a max of 1,000 tickets being sold per state.

But if $5,000 and some fun isn’t incentive enough, each person who joins the competition is eligible to win the top prize which is, inexplicably, the keys to one of Klein’s candy factories. He says “the world needs something positive to get their minds off their problems," and what better way than to take over a business that you know nothing about.

That is, if, the candy factory is even in operating condition. Perhaps more of the details will unravel as the contest gets underway, but as of now we know that the candy factory that Klein is proposing is reportedly 4,000 square feet and located in Florida, but no word as to whether it’s operational and what for. Klein no longer owns Jelly Belly and the candy brand is actually not affiliated with the gold ticket hunt at all.

Klein and his wife make their pitch for the contest in a home video posted on and participants are reportedly admitted to an exclusive Facebook group once they cough up the entry fee, at which point they start to receive clues to find the $5,000 necklace hiding in their state. Klein says they’ve already hidden “quite a few.”

So if you’re up for this sort-of-confusing treasure hunt and not afraid to take on the massive operational complexity of a food plant, then it’s time to get sleuthing, friends… and watch out for Slugworth.