What should you look for when choosing the best brewery tour?
With the explosion of craft breweries across Australia, more and more companies are starting up to showcase the venues in their region. There are varying levels of professional tour operators, and it’s important that you decide on the best brewery tour for the experience you’re after!
In Queensland, Hop On Brewery Tours are the original craft beer tour operators throughout Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Since opening our doors to the public many others have sought to imitate our product, however we pride ourselves on offering the most fun, unique, comprehensive, educational and fun beer experience in Queensland. Our tour prices include everything guests need, and we balance beer history with anecdotes and plenty of samples without anyone walking away feeling too worse for wear.
Some brewery tour operations sell themselves as “brewery tours” when they are, in fact, pub crawls that happen to visit breweries. We’ve heard stories of guests getting a little too rowdy with other tour operators, indicating to us that there is less of a focus on appreciation and more focus on inebriation.
Here’s a short list that can help ensure you travel with a craft beer tour operator that is going to offer the best insight, experience, and value for money possible:
- Does your brewery tour operator have the proper accreditation and licensing? It would be easy enough to buy a van, slap a logo on the side and start charging money for tours, but has the craft beer business you’re investigating taken the time, money and dedication to jump through all the necessary hoops? Start by checking the company’s ABN (or relevant business ID if outside of Australia); from there, see if there are any local, state or national accreditation listed on their website. Accreditation helps prove you’re travelling with a legitimate brewery tour operator.
Pro tip: Have you heard about a brewery tour in another state or city that people are raving about? See what accreditation they have, then ask your brewery tour operator if they have the same.
- Check their online presence. Are they active? Do they regularly post Instagram photos and content of guests having fun during their brewery tour experience? Do they have an updated Facebook profile with articles, posts and activity? Is their website navigable, and does it answer any questions you have? As a guest, you certainly don’t want to spend your time and money with a tour operator who has a “set it and forget it” approach to their business; rather, it’s best to ensure they are committed to remaining relevant and updated in their field.
Pro tip: Are the posts genuine, or simply shared and reposted from elsewhere? A mixture of content is a good indicator that the brewery tour you’re interested in is also interested in you!
- Our next recommendation is to ask around. Have staff members at local craft breweries heard of this tour company? Do they work together? Is the tour company you’re looking at a reputable operator? If you visit a venue where the brewery tour you’re interested doesn’t visit, are people working there still aware of their presence? A good brewery tour operator will have a strong presence within the craft brewing community.
Pro tip: Word of mouth is still king! Listen to what people are saying about different brewery tour operators and ask questions. Meet someone who has done the tour? Ask them about their day!
- Take some time to read reviews – but take them with a grain of salt! We all know those keyboard warriors, who will issue a 1* for an activity or venue because they had a bad day, got stuck in traffic, then had something arrive five minutes late. Read the good and the bad, see if the brewery tour owner/manager has replied to the reviews, and, if it’s a negative review, has there been a clear explanation of both sides of the story? Reviews are an excellent way to get a grasp on the company, what sorts of experiences guests have, and what the most enjoyable aspects of the day have been.
Pro tip: TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook and Yelp are all relatively neutral spaces to read a broad mix of reviews.
- Never hesitate to contact them directly. Most brewery tour operators are working on their own or with a small staff but are still happy to have a chat and answer any questions you have. Prefer a real person to an email or online FAQ? A phone number should be listed on their website (or Facebook page) so you can easily pick up the phone. Quick replies to emails are always a bonus as well! If they don’t have time for you before you book, why would they make time for you once they have your money?
Pro tip: Are your specific questions being answered, or do you feel like you’re receiving a generic reply? Ask a unique question, like what year they started or their favourite bar in the city where they operate.
- It definitely won’t make or break your decision to pick one brewery tour operator over another – especially since we encourage the supporting of new, small, independent businesses – however, if the tour company you’re looking to travel with has been around for a while, have they gained any achievements and awards? Of course we all want to experience the absolute best in the business, so why not have a look on their website, Instagram and/or Facebook pages to see if these accolades have been shared with the public?
Pro tip: Look for awards from recognisable and trusted brands, like TripAdvisor, which are rated on an international level.
- Is your prospective brewery tour company involved on a local level? Check out if they have active membership in local tourism councils. Usually this can be done by checking the relevant tourism website (like Destination Gold Coast or Visit Brisbane if you’re in SE Queensland) and searching for the brewery tour you’re investigating.
Pro tip: Membership to these groups is paid, so it’s not always an assurance of quality.
There you have it! This isn’t a definitive list by any means, though we have tried to be as comprehensive as possible! We want YOU, as a consumer, to ensure you are getting exactly what you are looking for! Whether it’s a romantic day out, a trip with visiting relatives, a birthday party, hen’s day or buck’s do, a corporate function or a way to explore new parts of the city, the brewery tour you select should tick all the boxes.
Do you have other suggestions? Questions? Comments? Please feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org – we would love your feedback! While we’re at it, how did you make your decision to jump on board with Hop On Brewery Tours for your Brisbane beer tour or Gold Coast brewery experience?
Cheers and beers,
Jos and Matt