A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.
By Nadine Babb
Photos Provided by Yuengling Brewery
The Tampa Yuengling Brewery tour gives its visitors a historical taste of America’s oldest brewery’s story. Yuengling is a family-owned brewery that is based out of Pottsville, Pa. Dick Yuengling, the current owner of Yuengling, purchased the Tampa Brewery in 1999.
The brewery offers free tours to all ages. “When people visit the brewery for a tour, they can expect to see the brewing and packaging process and to sample two of our seven different types of beer,” said tour guide Elizabeth Maroney.
The choices of beer include lagers, ports, and ales, which are served in 7-ounce plastics cups. The brewery does not have a license to sell alcohol, so samples are free, but you must be 21 or older to have a taste.
“I enjoy sharing my knowledge about the Yuengling brand and how it is made,” said Maroney, “I believe that if you have fun working, it’s not really work at all.”
The tour begins in the gift shop area. Maroney then takes visitors into the building where enormous brewing kettles are filled with a brown liquid called wort. The wort is then moved to a fermentation tank where the liquid becomes beer.
After the wort is transformed into beer, guests are brought into the chemistry lab. It is here where Randy Petty, a quality assurance technician, performs tests on the beer to ensure that the highest level of quality has been achieved.
“I check for anything that could change the taste of the beer,” said Petty. The ingredients for producing the Yuengling beers basically include barley, hops, and water.
Next, guests are brought into a hallway and shown the bottling and packing phase. Speedy machines fill, label, cap, and package the beer. Before shipping, the beer must first pass through the filtec machine which checks for properly capped bottles with the correct amount of beer.
“We have to change and update the machinery periodically, because this particular plant was built in 1958, and parts to machines become worn after so many years,” said Maroney. The plant runs with approximately 60 employees who help ensure that the brewing process runs smoothly.
Back at the gift shop, staff members hand out beer samples as a video showcases the history of the Yuengling Brewery Company. The video tells the story of how Yuengling has stayed a family owned business for 180 years. The current owner, Dick Yuengling, will someday sell it to his daughters who will carry on the tradition. “Mr. Yuengling visits approximately once in the year. He is always busy working himself in our Pottsville location,” said Maroney. “I had no idea how complex beer making is,” said USF student Tim Syder, as he sipped his sample of Black and Tan beer. “The tour was a lot of fun and pretty interesting too,” said Syder, a Tampa native. He says that he plans to come again. “It’s free, and it’s hard to find things to do nowadays that doesn’t cost you half your paycheck,”
The brewery is located at 11111 N. 30th St., Tampa, Fla. Tours are available Monday through Friday at 10a.m. and 1p.m. Those interested in group tours should call ahead of time at (813)972-8529.