Most Samuel Adams beer is made at breweries in Ohio and Pennsylvania, but Boston Beer Company calls Boston home. More than thirty years ago, the brewery rented space in the historic Haffenreffer Brewery—a renovated brick complex dating back to 1871, in the city’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood—and began giving tours.
A small brewhouse followed, along with packaging and expanded tour facilities. Then came a larger gift shop, a barrel-aging facility—home to the biannual Utopias—and staff training areas. An outside picnic area was added along with a research and development nano brewery and even more space for tour visitors, who had made the brewery one of the city’s top-ten travel destinations.
Throughout all this development, the tour—an experience designed to keep people entertained for a short period of time with some education, some samples, and general merriment before turning them back into the world—was the focus. It’s not that the folks at Sam Adams didn’t want a taproom; it’s just that there wasn’t room for one, brewery officials said. They talked about it for a while, but it wasn’t until new space opened up in the Haffenreffer Brewery complex that they could entertain the idea.