Did you know that two German entrepreneurs who came to America in the mid-19th century are responsible for the beverage company we know today as MillerCoors? Frederick Miller founded Miller Brewing Company in Milwaukee in 1855 using yeast that he carried in his pocket from Europe. Adolph Coors opened the Golden Brewery (later Coors Brewing Company) in Colorado and tapped his first barrel in 1873. In 2008, a joint venture created MillerCoors LLC and combined nearly 300 years of brewing heritage. The best way to learn more about this story, and beer making in general, is to take a FREE one-hour indoor/outdoor guided Miller Brewery Tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Plenty of free ice-cold samples await visitors afterward.
Tours begin in a state-of-the-art auditorium with an informative video depicting Frederick Miller’s arrival in Milwaukee, and the company’s transition to modern day brewing. Water, hops, barley and yeast are the main ingredients in any beer, but it’s also the processes of malting, mashing, fermenting and aging that provide the myriad of beer styles now on the market. Depending on the brand, MillerCoors beers may be heat-pasteurized or cold-filtered. During the tour, you’ll see MillerCoors’ malting, brewing and packaging processes in action. The huge brew kettles, mash tuns, and lauter tuns are located up a few flights of stairs where it’s about 100 degrees, so keep that in mind if visiting during the summer.
If you like statistics, you’ll be impressed to know that 500 tons of hops and more than 8,000,000 bushels of malt are used here annually to produce 2.22 million cases of beer each week. Each day, 19,200 kegs of beer are produced. It’s also pretty impressive watching lightning fast machines fill 2,000 cans per minute!
The last stop on the walking tour before you enjoy free beer samples, is the one-of-a-kind historic Miller Caves where Frederick Miller used to store his earliest brews. The ambiance is perfect for meeting the ghost of Mr. Miller! Whether you’re already a beer aficionado or prefer another beverage, the Miller Brewery Tour in Milwaukee is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at brewing history— from the ingredients and processes, to the packaging and distribution. You can also take home a souvenir from the Coors & Co. gift shop. Before your visit, please plan ahead for a designated driver, because as MillerCoors likes to say “With Great Beer comes Great Responsibility.” Cheers!
IF YOU GO:
Miller Brewery Tour
4251 West State Street
Milwaukee, WI 53208
Brewery Tours are FREE and typically run every 30 minutes between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m Monday – Saturday. Closed Sunday. Must be 21 years or better to sample beers at the end of the tour; photo ID required.
In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com