Last year, I was able to go to Burbank California and take a tour of the Rico Reed Factory. Since Rico was bought out by D'Addario several years ago, the company has been a hotbed of innovation. I have been playing Rico Reserve Classic reeds for the past three years and have been impressed with their quality and consistency. Before this time, I was a devoted Vandoren player and before that I made my own reeds. The Curious Clarinetist has a blog post describing his own visit to the Rico Factory. It is really well done with great pictures and a video of the reed making process. This post matches closely my experience in visiting the Rico Factory. It is a great “reed” that you should click through to check out. :)
The tour was amazing and so were the people I met there. They are such incredibly passionate people who care about their craft deeply and are constantly looking to produce better products. It was inspiring and fascinating to see what it takes to produce that little piece of cane which is absolutely necessary to everything we do as clarinetists.