Leg 5 of our Year Long Adventure brought us to the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to tour the Miller Brewery. Being big fans of both factory tours and Miller Lite, this is something we were looking forward to doing.
We started at the Miller Visitor Center and were pleasantly surprised to learn that not only was the tour free, but we were also going to receive free samples at the end of the tour. The tour starts with a short film that tells the story of how Frederik Miller emigrated from Germany to Milwaukee in 1855 and started his brewery. He bought the Plank Road Brewery and made his first batch of beer with special yeast that he had brought with him from Europe.
The tour is a guided walking tour that covers 4 blocks, taking visitors to various stops around the Miller Complex. Our guide was energetic and fun, and we learned a lot. Unlike many of the other factory tours we have taken, visitors are allowed to take photos and/or video at any stage of the tour.
The first stop was the Packaging Center where the beer is put into cans and bottles. The machines can fill 1400 bottles or 2000 cans per minute. Long glass windows allow you to look down at the machinery in motion – very cool.
We are always amazed at the engineering involved in the factory process, and the Miller brewery did not disappoint. You can see a short video of the machinery in motion here.
The next stop is the Distribution Center that is the size of 5 football fields and holds nearly 500,000 cases of beer. Here we learned a little about the merger of Miller and Coors, and also about all the different brands bottled by the two companies.
Next, the tour takes you across the street to the Brew House. It is here where the beer is actually made. It was around 110 degrees in the room.
The tour then heads to the historic caves where Frederik Miller would store his beer to keep it cool. He would have ice brought in from frozen lakes in the winter to line the walls of the cave, making it the ideal natural refrigerator.
The final stop on the tour is the Beer Garden where each guest over the age of 21 is given the opportunity to sample 3 different beers from the Miller Family. They also provide lemonade and cokes for kids or anyone who did not want beer.
It was our anniversary, so we toasted to 14 years of wedded bliss with the free beer and pretzels before we escaped to the air conditioned gift shop.
Our whole family really enjoyed the tour, and we would definitely recommend it if you find yourself in Milwaukee.
It is hard to believe, but our Year Long Adventure is quickly nearing the end. For up-to-the minute updates, you can follow us on Facebook by liking Year Long Adventure.