Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January Runner Up: Kirsti Follows the Barley Trail

Our Runner Up for January was posted by none other than Power On Kirsti. We grow barley on contract for Busch, which produces Budweiser Beers. This post reminds us that it is a long trip from the barley field to a marketable product.
The January Farmer Fred Award Runner Up is presented to:
Kirsti Follows the Barley Trail
originally published on January 9, 2013

Hello friends! It's Kirsti, the lovely daughter to Farmers Fred and Jane. I may not be living on the farm anymore--my husband and I call the oilfield of western North Dakota home--but my fifth generation farming roots run deep. I'm still the silly, yodeling cowgirl who loves the smell of manure and grain. 

I therefore jumped at the chance to take the Budweiser factory tour  (learn more about it here) while in St. Louis on a business trip last fall. I mean, what self-respecting barley farmer's daughter wouldn't love to see where her family's product goes after it's taken off the field? Last Summer, we explained About Barley requirements at the Busch Elevator and the Malting Process at the Moorhead, Minnesota plant. I was the lucky girl with GriggsDakota roots who toured the Busch brewery.

And boy oh boy, am I glad I brought my camera.

We started things off in the welcome building filled with detailed displays...

...and intricate explanations of all the processes we were about to witness. Seeing images of red combines harvesting barley in their videos may've been my favorite part of the whole tour.

From there, our tour guide led us on a journey through the massive campus of brick buildings and steel pipes, going in and out of rooms that play a role in the beer-making process.

Of course, we visited the iconic horses that live in the fanciest stable I've ever set foot in. I take back my earlier statement--this might have been my favorite part.

I mean how many stables have you seen with stained glass windows and giant brass chandeliers? Clearly these folks love their horses. Which in turn makes me love them a bit more. What can I say, I have a soft spot for equine.

The buildings we wound our way through were as majestic as the Clydesdales. 

And yes, I was totally the tourist with my mouth hanging open as we traveled the beautiful grounds. 

Those who know me best know I have a strong love of architecture and design. So contrary to what I said a few photos ago, the buildings were my favorite part of the tour. 

After we learned how the products were made, we were able to witness how they become packaged.

Hot and steaming from their final wash, massive numbers of bottles and cans traveled along the conveyor belts as we watched from the viewing platforms. It was exciting, loud and mind-boggeling. 

And it may've been my favorite part.

After the tour, we were taken to the tasting room to sample a couple brews of our choice. While I'm not much of a beer drinker, the free sample I had was refreshing after the hot afternoon walking tour.

Sitting at a table in the lounge with my colleagues, sipping each others selections and comparing notes just might have been my favorite part.


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