The Anheuser-Busch brewery tour is a long-standing tradition in St. Louis, and the free tour has been in effect since the early 1900s. However, even though many things have stayed the same in regard to the brewery, some exciting changes are coming.
Beer-lovers now can attend a paid beer school and beermaster tour, even more in-depth and up-close ways to educate and taste more beers than ever before.
The regular brewery tour lasts a little more than an hour and it’s free. The tour includes a look at how beer is made in the plant, a visit to the world-famous Clydesdales stable and a trolley ride back to the hospitality room, where those over 21 can sample two beer options. Guests under 21 can participate on the tour, but must be accompanied by an adult and cannot sample the brews.
Kendra Quartz, brewery tour manager, said that a lot of the areas visited on the tour have stayed the same over the years (she’s been with Anheuser-Busch for 12 years) but a lot of the equipment has changed to reflect better technology and beer statistics.
Recycling also is a highlight of the tour, and 99.6 percent of all solid waste from the plant is recycled, according to Anthony Paraino, communications manager.
“It’s a great statistic, and it’s something we are pretty proud of,” he said. “On the tour you do pass by the grain area where they load and unload into tractor trailers.”
Quartz said that the tour is a fun thing to do with the family, even though it is beer-oriented, because there is something for everyone. Her favorite part of the tour is the packaging plant.
“It’s amazing how quickly the equipment moves and how passionate the people are who work on the line—it’s amazing what they do down there,” she said.
Artifacts from Budweiser history are on display throughout the tour, and Paraino’s favorite part of the tour, the lobby gift shop, offers a wide variety of merchandise.
“The lobby is a little museum where you can see things from the past, see ingredients, and a display that walks you through the brewing process and past advertising,” Paraino said.
The paid beer school was an idea that came about from one of the regular tour guides. He wanted to teach people about how to brew a beer, how to properly taste a beer and how beer is paired with glassware and food. Up to 30 people go on that tour, and beer school is first-come, first-served.
The beermaster tour is a unique 21 and over tour that goes in-depth about brewing and packaging at Budweiser.
“On the beermaster tour, you get to taste an in-process sample while in the beechwood aging cellar,” Quartz said. “Then in the packaging plant guests go out onto a packaging line rather than viewing it from the gallery. Then you go to a finishing cellar to taste it—it doesn’t even have a ‘born on’ date yet.”
Quartz said the highlight is the finishing cellar, which is kept at 36 degrees. Each guest gets a glass to sample and keep and other gifts to take home.
For those who wait until mid-summer, the tour is expanding to include an outdoor biergarten, which will be adjacent to the brewery tour. The new feature will be at 12th and Lynch streets; construction began in May.
Seventeen beers will be on tap and according to Paraino, the facility also will feature special beer tastings, including a Brewmaster’s Tasting every day at 3 p.m. —the same time Anheuser-Busch Brewmasters from around the country taste beer each day.
“Guests will learn about beer styles, how to pour and present beer and how to properly pair beer with food,” according to a statement.
A limited menu will be available, and visitors will be welcomed by the 18-foot bright red “B” that once was a part of the large neon brewery sign. It will now reside in the biergarten. There will be no charge for admission to the biergartnen.
For more information about brewery tours and the biergarten project , visit www.budweisertours.com.