Miller Brewery Tour

the caves

Stopping by Miller Valley and taking a tour of the Miller Brewery is a fun way to pass a Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee. Start in the gift shop of the Visitor’s Center, and then enter the theatre with a movie that presents a significant part of Milwaukee’s history.

New media throughout the tour is cutting edge, like later in the tour when Herman Miller pops out of the cave painting with a hologram effect. Sometimes we felt, their presentation material was a little cheesy, like the tour introduction of the “Miller High Life Girl In The Moon”. I see what they are trying to do, but in my opinion, it didn’t really deliver their message well. Video’s were used rather extensively throughout the guided tour, leaving a commercialized feeling, but overall the presentations were well done.

You definitely learn about the Miller brands. They try to have a brand for every beer lover and take every opportunity to impress upon you what their many brands are. The list is extensive, here are just a few:

  • Coors
  • Miller
  • Leinenkugels
  • Blue Moon
  • Keystone
  • Molson
  • Carling
  • Foster’s
  • Grolsch
  • Peroni
  • Sharp’s
  • Amstel Light
  • Astika
  • Aguila
  • Hamm’s
  • Mickey’s
  • Milwaukee’s Best

After the movie, a guide will take you to several places of importance along the beer making process like the brewhouse, packaging and the warehouse. 

Discover what massive beer distribution looks like with a chance to see a million cases of beer as you walk through the warehouse. Did you know that 40% of their production goes to Chicago? The rest is transported throughout the Midwest. Who says Milwaukee is America’s Beer City? I guess that depends on production vs. consumption.

The caves were my favorite. You go down about a dozen steps, and enter the cave where, here again, you get a cool feeling of historic déjà vu as Herman Miller tells you how they used to cut massive blocks of ice out of Lake Michigan and haul it to the caves to keep the beer cold all year round. 

Then head off to the tasting room, where you are served a 6-8oz glass of Miller, Miller High Life and then a third rotating beer of their choice. Their choice today was Third Shift, an Amber Lager, that no one, even the Amber beer lover in our group, could even drink. It had a strong unpleasant after taste that one just couldn’t get past. Our suggestion- do as other tours do and allow visitors to choose their own beer. Like wine lovers, beer drinkers have distinctive tastes. Miller circumvents the earlier focus of their varied brands by not allowing their guests to educate their pallets, as wineries and even Leinenkugels do so well, Miller misses an important opportunity.

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Milwaukee Brewing Company

landscape view of the brewery

Check out this upstart craft brewery and tour in Milwaukee for a fun afternoon. This group of brewers take their beer making seriously, but endearingly, take themselves very lightly. From the minute you step foot in the doors of the Milwaukee Brewery Company, you’re in for some light-hearted beer loving fun. MKE Apparel

Their branding is cool with a logo that looks like a hex-nut with the airport code MKE inside. Their uniforms look like they belonged at the airport -maybe circa 1965. Bicycles hanging in the shipping area, discreetly tell you that this is one of those businesses that support and celebrate their employees.  

The tour starts with a trip to the tasting bar, where you get a full 20 oz glass of beer from a choice of about 10 options on any given day. Then watch a short video that offers a bit the brewery’s background from the brewery owner. Our guide, Tim with the awesome mustache, is probably a stand up comedian when he isn’t giving tours. His love for the company, and its beer, with a strong knowledge of the process offer just the right combination. 

You come away, after a couple stops back to the bar, with an appreciation of their mission (which seems to be to get you to drink and love their beer) and values (to be known for their environmental practices with the use of bio-diesel and upcoming solar). These environmental practices most recently put them in the limelight for a visit from Gov. Walker (we think he just wanted the free beer, too).   

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