In Good Spirits: 7 U.S. Beverage Factory Tours

Food & Wine, Ideas — By on August 18, 2011 at 6:00 am

By Michele Herrmann
LG Section Editor

Whatever your choice of beverage is, a tour of the factory or distillery where a well-known U.S. brand is made can be pretty tasty. A number of top-brand and local favorites are opening their doors to the general public to see first-hand how their drinks are made. With so many brands to choose from and check out, here are seven world-recognized labels, from soda to suds, that allow visitors to peek in on – and sip a sample of – their distributions.

1) World of Coca Cola, Atlanta, Georgia

Located beside the Georgia Aquarium in Pemberton Place, the World of Coca Cola contains more than 1,200 artifacts from around the world, interactive exhibits such as a 4-D movie and a gallery dedicated to Coke and pop culture, all thanks to John S. Pemberton, the pharmacist who invented Coca-Cola in Atlanta in 1886. For post-tour refreshment, visitors can sample more 60 different beverages from around the globe.

2) Samuel Adams, Boston, Massachusetts

Although the American patriot and brewer Samuel Adams precedes the Boston brewery that bears his name by, say, 300 years or so, visitors to Samuel Adams brewery get to learn about his guy as well as the distillery’s history.

Guests have a chance to drink some of it too as they experience the entire brewing process, from start to finish, tasting special malts used to brew Samuel Adams beers and smelling  Hallertau hops.

3) Celestial Seasonings, Boulder, Colorado

At its advanced tea production plant, Celestial Seasonings offers free daily tours for visitors to see first-hand on natural ingredients from different parts of the world that go into this Boulder-based herbal brewer.

While waiting for a tour, guests can try any and all of their flavors of tea, with a current count at more than 75 brands. There’s also an iced tea machine in the lobby, as well. The original artwork that the company commissions for the boxes lines the walls in their rotating art gallery and the tour begins with a walk through the offices. Check out the stacks of Celestial boxes that litter employees’ shelves.

4) Jack Daniels, Lynchburg, Tennessee

Ironically located in a dry county, and just with lemonade being offered at the end of a tour, The Jack Daniels Distillery is the oldest registered distillery in the United States.

Just over an hour’s drive from Nashville, visitors can not only walk through various plants and storage facilities but also see the pure, iron-free cave spring waters that remain a major component in this company’s whiskey.

Also on the tour, guests learn the life story of Jack Daniels, founder of this brand, and how the company survived during the Prohibition and how a fifties magazine article brought public attention, and visitors, to the distillery.

Also, check out the late Daniels’ office and how an ironclad safe in the corner caused Mr. Daniels, who kicked it to relief some frustration, to eventually experience a painful passing.

5) Dublin Dr Pepper, Dublin, Texas

Besides being the oldest Dr Pepper bottler in the world, Dublin Dr Pepper also has the distinction of being bottled with Imperial Pure Cane Sugar, as in the original Dr Pepper’s formula. Dublin, Texas became the site for the world’s oldest Dr Pepper bottling plant in 1891, just six years after the drink’s invention in nearby Waco.

While visiting, go by Old Doc’s Soda Shop to order up an original formula Dr Pepper and get driving directions and tour information.

6) Anheuser-Busch, at various locations

Founded in 1852, Anheuser-Busch showcase its ales during one complimentary tours at five of the company’s 12 U.S. breweries in St. Louis, Mo., Fairfield, Calif., Fort Collins, Colo., Jacksonville, Fla. and Merrimack, N.H.

In the Hospitality Room, visitors 21 years of age or older, can enjoy afavorite brew, including a variety of our new and innovative products. Soft drinks and snacks are also served. The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales can be seen in their stables at Brewery Tour locations in St. Louis, Fort Collins, and Merrimack.

7) MillerCoors Brewing Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Golden, Colorado

MillerCoors offers separate tours in different states for its two flagship beers. For its Milwaukee Brewery tour, the brewery offers free indoor/outdoor guided walking tours of Miller Valley, home to more than 150 years of brewing history. Experience everything from Fredrick Miller’s arrival in Milwaukee to the high-speed production lines used today. A free, one-hour tour blends the rich history of MillerCoors with the modern age technology of today’s brewing process. Tours include a video, up-close views of our packaging center, shipping and distribution warehouse, brewhouse and one-of-a-kind Miller caves, where visitors will have the opportunity to meet Fredrick Miller himself.

For Coors’ Golden Brewery Tour, located at the foot of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, the 30-minute self-paced tour takes place in the world’s largest single-site brewery, highlighting the malting, brewing and packaging processes. Cool off in the “fresh beer room,” where visitors sip a cold sample and rest on ice-cube benches in a refrigerated room. At the end of the tour, view old photos, neons, historical beer cans, bottles and memorabilia.


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