Exploring Abandoned Breweries

Posted by BeerMaven | Breweries, Uncategorized | Posted on September 21st

Abandoned buildings generally have a charm about them. While it is true that a run-down facade and crumbling walls isn’t always charming, a structure’s shoddy exterior is only secondary to its overall appeal. Neglected structures can be compared to a treasure chest, something which offers more than face value. People know that there is more to the building than the structure itself; it can be anything: history, artifacts, souvenirs, even ghost sightings. Those in themselves make people want to go and explore, regardless of the physical state of the place.

If there are abandoned buildings that would certainly get the attention of beer lovers, it would surely be those of defunct breweries. Since the breweries haven’t been operational in years, there is obviously no free brew in store for those who want to drop by. However, there are still many things left inside that is worth checking out. In some former breweries, the machinery is still intact, so beer geeks can get a glimpse of the equipment responsible for their fave beverage.

Because beer is still one of the world’s most popular beverages, there has to be a valid reason for a brewery to halt operation and end up being neglected. For some of the well-known abandoned breweries around the world, there is no single reason for closing. Each has a different story to tell.

The beer industry may be profitable, but not for all businesses. In fact, the common reason breweries are abandoned is poor sales. The historic Pfeiffer Brewery in Detroit may have survived the prohibition and both world wars, but the decline in sales experienced in the 1950s spelled its demise. As for Hamm’s Brewery in Minnesota, it was the change of hands that did it. The Hamms were successful, but their successors weren’t. Bad sales caused the brewery to close in 1997.

In some cases, poor sales was not the problem. With the Brasserie Eylenbosch in Belgium, it was the expensive product that sealed the brewery’s fate. The brewery was responsible for Eylenbosch, a beer which took too long to make, causing the beer to be too expensive. It was closed in 1989. In other instances, it was either politics or natural catastrophes which forced a brewery to stop making beer. Barenquell beer is still available, but the Berlin’s Barenquell-Brauerei has been closed since 1994, probably due to long years of Communist ownership. Meanwhile, New Orleans’s Dixie Brewery was operational until 2005, when Hurricane Katrina caused massive flooding and caused its closure.

These breweries may seem useless today, but the sense of history it offers is priceless. The history of beer will not be complete without them. Those who absolutely love beer should try to skip their usual trips and instead opt for this kind of urban exploring. It’s generally safe to check out these key places of beer-making history, but explorers must be careful. Since the abandoned breweries are private properties, it is necessary for anyone to obtain permission before doing any sort of exploration.

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