As I’ve written a couple times before, I was extremely surprised and impressed with the array of great beers I encountered on my first-ever trip to Grand Bahama Island last summer. I was so surprised and impressed, in fact, that on the last day of my trip, I made sure to check out of the Our Lucaya Resort a little early, eschewing a few final hours of beachfront relaxation in favor of this place, Grand Bahama’s Bahamian Brewery.
Trust me, this place is not on the island’s well-trod tourist path. Grand Bahama, and more specifically the Freeport area, was planned and developed around industrial concerns, lumber chief among them. This is why you won’t find too many scenic seaside roads here as you do in most other Caribbean islands. Freeport’s roadways are primarily designed to best serve the island’s commercial sector, so when you’re driving between the island’s resorts and, say, the airport, this type of industrial facility is mostly what you’d see.
Not many tourists stopping here, which true to Uncommon Caribbean form, made it the perfect place for me. That this was the place where all the island’s great beer came from helped too, of course…
Inside, I met Hazel Springer, a 32 year-old local Bahamian who has a job any beer-lover would die for – quality control.
It was Hazel who told me the story of Jimmy Sands and Sands Beer that I wrote about here. Hazel also told me about the local market research they conducted to arrive at the formula for Strong Back, the manly stout made just for girls. She also shared a few secrets about High Rock, another Bahamian Brewery brand that we’ll tell you about some other time.
The most interesting thing Hazel told me, though, was this: THEY TAKE IN VOLUNTEERS!
That’s right, if you’re studying the brewmaster’s art, you can apply to apprentice here and get some hands-on training!
If you decide to give it a go, you’ll find yourself working in what is undoubtedly among the most modern and technically advanced breweries in the Caribbean. Everything in here is sparkling and new, with storage and fermentation tanks that glisten with the promise of the golden treasure inside.
Sorry, I just drooled on myself a little at the memory of touring this place.
Meeting Hazel and seeing where all the Bahamian Brewery beers are produced and bottled was great, but my favorite part of the tour was visiting the VIP bar at the end. There, we had a chance to relax, enjoy some taste-testing and just talk beers. As you can imagine, for me, it was the perfect ending to a great trip!
To get in contact with the fine folks at the Bahamian Brewery about apprenticeships, tours, and beer, click here to visit their website.