Anyone else want the brewery tour back??

Busch Gardens Williamsburg: Bring back the brewery tour!

From robert olson
Posted May 13, 2006 at 11:42 PM
I remember years ago when Busch Gardens Williamsburg offered a brewery tour as part of the park experience. You boarded a monorail (yes, I have a picture of it!) which took you on a short ride from the park to the brewery (next door). There was a museum with artifacts discovered while building the brewery, a history of all things 'Busch', a cold room where you could see the vats of aging brew, a giftshop, and...of course...a free sample on the way out ;) The tour was free and you had your hand stamped before boarding the monorail. Does anyone know what happened to the tour? I thought it was interesting and a nice break if the park was especially hot and crowded.


From Erik Yates
Posted May 14, 2006 at 4:27 AM
I dont remember them offering anything similar at the Florida parks, but they used to have all kinds of other things such as the Brewmaster School. They also had two bars that you can sample from, one in the front with mostly beer and one in the back with the other stuff like Bacardi Raz and that kind of junk. Its the first place I sampled the Budweiser Energy beer. Now they have that are closed off and you enlist in some kind of school where you get to do beer and food you would pair up wine with food. Not bad, but not as good as the good ole days.

From Chris Walton
Posted May 14, 2006 at 9:04 AM
BGT still offers beer school, well atleast they did at the end of 2005 when I last went to BGT before my pass expired. They used to have a brewery on-site of which they offered tours, but they tore it down to provide room for expansion sometime in the mid-nineties.

From Erik Yates
Posted May 14, 2006 at 12:13 PM
Last time I went to Sea World, they didnt have Beer School, and I was under the impression that this had changed all over the Busch chain...could be wrong. The last time I was at SWO was March.

From Chris Walton
Posted May 14, 2006 at 3:00 PM
Sea World has never been as big as Busch Gardens for advertising Anheuser-Busch beers, I don't even recall their ever being a hospitality house at Sea World.

From Jason Jackson
Posted May 14, 2006 at 10:28 PM
Many of the Beer Schools have been replaced by Brewmaster's Clubs which is suppose to be a more guest focused program. I know Sea World Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa have Hospitality Centers. Busch Gardens Williamsburg/Europe also gave guests a chance to visit the AB Hospitality House which was adjacent to the Brewery. As the previous reviewer said, the Eagle One Monorail transported Guests from Busch Gardens to the Hospitality Center and back. The contemporary building was nice and the self guided brewery tour was a nice respite, especially on a hot day. While they were popular with the guests, the need to expand the brewery for production and efficiency was paramount, so the tours and hospitality center were closed. The monorail was taken out and the Hospitality Center has been torn down! Tampa's Brewery closed a few years back as well. A few of the AB Breweries offer tours, but not all of them. Busch Gardens Williamsburg is the only park that is right beside a brewery still. If you are over 21 visit for brewery tour information.

From Donna Tolliver-Walker
Posted May 15, 2006 at 7:15 AM
IIRC even this year, BGE-W still has both Beer School (in the pub in Ireland) and the Brewmaster food/beer pairing experience (in the Festhaus in Germany). Both are fun, but I'm sure the brewery tour would've been even better!

From Brian B
Posted May 15, 2006 at 9:24 AM
There is a Beer School at BGT and Sea World Orlando. Sea World actually has a huge hospitality house serving free beer as does Busch. I went to Beer School yesterday and there was a guy attending for the 115th time.

From Jason Jackson
Posted May 15, 2006 at 7:48 PM
BGE-W no longer has a Beer School.

From robert olson
Posted May 17, 2006 at 10:05 AM
To the contrary, the latest brochure for BGW mentions their "30-minute beer school" in Ireland.

From Pete Brecht
Posted May 20, 2006 at 8:28 AM
I can confirm that there is no more Beer School at BGE. I was just there yesterday, and I spoke to an employee outside the entrance to the old Beer School in Ireland. It is now a Brewmaster's Club, and I was interested/confused to find out that they still have the Brewmaster's Club in the Festhaus. I'm not sure why they need two of those in the same park....

I just wish they had the hospitality house at BGE like they do at all of the other Busch parks. I don't want a lecture about how to pair different foods with the different AB beers; I just want the free beer!

From gary baxter
Posted September 8, 2006 at 11:15 AM
It is not a lecture. Very pleasant experience. We've done it at Sea World in San Diego and at BG Wmbg.
Going back to BGWMBG next month. Anxious to see the one that replaced the beer school.

From Fran Emory
Posted September 9, 2006 at 7:14 AM
I think one of the reasons the brewery tour was removed is the simple fact that once you were in the brewery, you could easily access other food options outside of the park. In other words, BGW figured out how many people were using the tour to leave the park and walk to one of the many fast food/stores on Route 60 and then return to BGW via the Monorail.

From robert olson
Posted September 9, 2006 at 9:17 AM
Fran said: "I think one of the reasons the brewery tour was removed is the simple fact that once you were in the brewery, you could easily access other food options outside of the park."

If I had only known that THEN! I don't know...I don't remember there being an exit from inside the brewery once you were in there (although I didn't look). I remember you took the monorail there-and-back, so you couldn't really DRIVE anywhere from the brewery. I'm not sure if there were that many people on the brewery tour that were willing to brave the hot VA sun to walk to an offsight eatery for food instead of eating in the park...where the prices for food are actually quite reasonable considering the portion sizes and quality of the food in the park. Platters in the park are around $7-$8 average...and some of those will feed 2 people nicely! I remember that one of the things we loved about the brewery tour was being able to get out of the heat for awhile!! Remember the chilly vat room? I have a picture of it. That was - literally - the coolest place to be ;)

robert olson

From Sean Rust
Posted September 9, 2006 at 11:42 AM
The tour section of the brewery was self-contained. There were no re-entry turnstials inside, therefore you couldn't leave. It sucked to be over there when the monorail didn't work.

From Fran Emory
Posted September 10, 2006 at 5:03 AM
There were many occasions, as teenagers, where we left the brewery tour and went across the street to Wendy's. I am not saying that the food at BGE is not good or even that it's too pricey, but as teens we did find a way to make it out to Route 60, eat, and back into the park.

From Jacob Palmer
Posted September 10, 2006 at 7:50 AM
The brewery tour was awesome. And I am virtually positive that you could just go to the to the brewery tour by itself. I remember driving there one day when it absolutely pouring down rain, and basically nothing in the park was running. I really do miss that self guided tour!

From robert olson
Posted September 10, 2006 at 9:10 AM
Fran: I'm wondering if they eventually 'tightened it up' in later years so that people couldn't exit the tour? I know you've said that you started visiting the park around when it opened, so this might be the case. Regardless, I don't think there was a migration of people leaving the brewery to get outside food. Probably not enough so that Busch felt like it was bleeding money by having the tour...although I don't know. From what Busch told me, it had to do with a brewery expansion that enlarged the brewery into the monorail track area, and it would've been too expensive to move/rebuild the track. I've heard all kinds of rumors: the giftshop wasn't profitable, drunks riding the monorail, etc. I remember they had a giftshop at the brewery that seemed to do good business. It's really a shame that the tour isn't around anymore. They should at least allow a tour for people who drive to the brewery.

Jacob: are you saying that you drove up to the brewery for the tour instead of taking the monorail from inside the park?

All this talk of the tour has left me feeling sentimental. I might post some of my (very amateur) pictures soon of the brewery tour...

robert olson

From Jacob Palmer
Posted September 10, 2006 at 2:27 PM
Yes, I am. I wish I could remember more, but the reason I remember driving there so distinctly, is because the weather was awful, and we didn't even go to the park that day. I also remember that the monorail wasn't working that day. This is driving me crazy...I wish I could remember this in more detail...Maybe I'll remember more later.

From Jason Jackson
Posted September 11, 2006 at 6:15 PM
The Hospitality Center was a seperate attraction that for many years operated year around. You could park at the Hospitality Center and tour the brewery and get samples. It use to be real popular with William and Mary Students (which I was one of) on Friday afternoons. Later it went toward a more seasonable operation (closed at Christmas and reopened with the park). The monorail was a high maintenance ride (the newer versions used at airports, etc are much more efficient). I think what it basically came down to was that the brewery needed the space for expansion and while the old hospitality center was used for offices for awhile, it was eventually torn down and the brewery expanded. Supposedly some of the old viewing galleries are now used as offices, but there are no plans to reopen the brewery tour to my knowledge. Based on Virginia's current ABC laws, it would be hard to put a hospitality center in the park as the law doesn't permit free samples of beer except used in educational settings (thus the Brewmaster's Rooms).

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