How Your Guides Can Make Your Tours Exceptional

Last week, Brewer emphasized the importance of having a variety of options for brewery tours to ensure guests have unique experiences. Conversations with those same breweries also highlighted some other elements that go into having success in your tours, including guest safety and your guides’ knowledge and friendliness.

At Great Divide Brewing Co., all the guides have prior bartending experience and have shadowed the brewing process.

“We have a tour script that hits key points for an in-depth, uniform base of knowledge with room for improvisation on other parts of the tour,” said Bar Manager Sarah Paxston.

The guides drink a beer with the group while asking the tour group personal questions and answering questions about the brewery along the way. 

Tours are open to the public and limited to the first 20 guests to ensure a personalized experience, Paxston said. For safety reasons, Great Divide requires customers to wear closed-toe shoes and guests under 21 to have adult supervision. Children under 12 may not be brought on tours. 

Keith Kennedy of Boulevard Brewing Co. said the tour guides come from a variety of backgrounds, from science to history buffs to professional performers or professors, allowing everyone to bring something unique to the tours.

“After a basic orientation to brewery life, an in-depth lesson on the brewing process, and basic how-tos for tasting and describing our beers, our guides-in-training begin tour follows,” Kennedy said. “Our guides will spend their first few shifts following other teammates tours to really absorb the information and see the dynamics of how tours operate. After they’ve followed approximately a dozen tours, we have them gradually take over sections of the tour, until they are comfortable leading the entire tour alone.”

Guides make each tour personal at Boulevard. They ask guests where they are visiting from, and guides share their own favorite picks with the tour groups.

Guides receive safety training in the brewery, learning potential hazards they might encounter and what to do in those situations. They take head counts of tour groups and assign someone to be the “caboose” in order to keep the group together.

“Additionally, all leadership is well-versed in the brewery’s emergency action plans,” Kennedy said.

Troëgs Independent Brewing looks for guides who can speak well in front of crowds and are passionate and enthusiastic about craft beer.

“Many members of our team are avid homebrewers and/or have traveled the world, trying the best beers from Germany, Belgium, the UK and here in the USA,” said Christie Yurkovic. “Because the tours give guests a comprehensive view of the brewing process, our guides are extensively trained. The craft beer industry is constantly growing and evolving, so our guides are always on the hunt for information about new beer styles, new equipment and new brewing techniques.”

During tours, guests are encouraged to ask questions and share their own stories. The hands-on experiences offered at Troëgs offer guests the opportunity to rub hops, eat malted barley, and sample beer.

Troëgs also requires guests to wear closed-toe shoes and gives guests safety glasses, and minors are only allowed on the Self-Guided Tour Path which separates guests from equipment with a glass barrier.

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