Banks Beer Barbados Tour

What to do in Barbados
Banks Beer Brewery Tour

On one of the rainiest days in our 3-month stay in Barbados, we headed off to enjoy a Banks Beer Barbados Tour.  What better way to spend a rainy day than learning all about the brewing techniques of Barbados most famous beer – Banks Beer and the opportunity of having a tasting at the end of the tour. We had been introduced to Banks Beer by our friends on our arrival on the island, the lager beer is very popular. As we travel the world we always seek out the local ‘brew‘ to support the local industry. In Killarney Ireland, we visited the Killarney Brewing Company and experienced their beer tour and tasting.

We cannot get enough of beer, wine and distillery tours and always source them wherever we travel to.

Banks Beer Barbados Tour

Our guide for our complimentary tour was Mandy who was passionate about Banks Beer just as all Barbadians are.  Locals state that “Banks Beer is the only beer, Banks Beer is their beer.”

Banks Visitor Centre and Souvenir Shop

Banks Beer Barbados Tour

The Tour starts from the Banks Visitor Centre

The Banks Beer Barbados Tour starts at the Banks Visitor Centre.  As we arrived we were greeted by the smell of the yeast in the air, even with the heavy downpour of rain.

Banks Beer Barbados Tour

The Entrance to the Banks Beer Brewery

Mandy led us across the road passed the Beer Copper Kettle at the entrance which is used as the Guard House and into the 2-storey building. The entrance to Banks Brewery proudly displays the many awards that Banks Brewery has won including the Belgium Gold Award in 2013.  Inside the building, there are strong aromas of the earthy grains and the hops used in the process of beer making.

History

Banks Brewery opened in Barbados in 1961.  It is an interesting story on how it first started. The Guyanese businessman Peter Stanislaus D’Aguiar was the founder of Banks (Barbados) Breweries Limited.  In 1959 over 3000 Barbadians made up of the local shopkeepers, local vendors, investors and other locals purchased 1.5 million shares which became the capital required to start the company.

The Banks Beer Barbados Tour

Banks Beer Barbados Tour

The Entrance Showing the History of Banks Beer and Numerous Awards

The Tour takes approximately 45 minutes which includes a short video of the process.  At the end of the tour, you are able to experience the taste of a bottle of Banks Beer.

The Process

Grains and hops are imported from the UK as the weather is too hot to grow them in Barbados.  The distinctive taste of Banks Beer is attributed to Barbados water which is filtered through the limestone rock of the Island.

There are 12 fermenters and it takes 2-3 days for the beer to ferment.  Out of 1 fermenter, you can get 265,000 bottles of beer – wow that’s a lot of beer!

Bottling:

The glass bottles are made in Trinidad and the best news is that they are recyclable – a 25 cent return on each bottle.  The currency in Barbados is the Barbados dollar – 1 Barbados dollar is worth 0.50 US cents.

Labeling:

  • there are 30 labelling heads
  • 42,900 bottles per hour are labelled on the front, neck and back
  • All products apart from Banks Beer has paper labels

Packaging Plant:

Some figures to digest:

  • On the returnable bottle line 39,000 bottles per hour are packed
  • 11,000 cases are packed in an 8 hour shift
  • 18,000 cans are packaged per hour

Canning Line:

In 2012 new products were introduced – Twist, Plus and Tiger Malt.

  • 12.5 cases per minute
  • Cans are 330ml
  • Bottles 275ml

Kegs:

They produce 35 kegs per hour with each keg holding 20 litres.

Banks Beer Shops

Banks Beer Barbados Tour

The Many Colourful Shop Fronts selling Banks Beer

There are over 40 Banks Beer Shops scattered throughout the island.  They are distinctive as they are painted in the red and white colours of Banks Beer. Grab your ice cold Banks Beer here and enjoy the local atmosphere.

Did you know:

  • the grains that are left over from the process are used to feed the local cattle
  • the site has solar panels on the roof that saves the company approximately $5,000 per day or 8.3% of their energy bill
  • Beer does not get better with age – a tip from the Banks Brewmaster is to drink the beer when it is fresh
  • Store the beer in a cold place and do not freeze it

We thank Mandy and Charla for hosting us on our Banks Beer Brewery Tour.  We learnt a lot about the process and of course enjoyed our ice cold Banks Beer at the end of the tour.

Banks Beer Brewery Tour Details:

Address: Banks Breweries Visitor Centre, Newton, Christ Church, Barbados, BB17047

Shop Opening Hours:  8 a.m.  – 4:30 p.m.

Daily Tours: 10.00am, 12.00pm and 2.00pm

For information on prices and latest rates for groups telephone (246) 271 4594

Age Restrictions for the Tour: No children under the age of 12 years

Barbados Drinking Age: The legal drinking age for alcohol in Barbados is 18, but those that are aged 10-17 are allowed to consume alcohol provided they are with a parent.

Banks Beer Souvenirs: There are a range of Banks Beer merchandise including Banks Beer T-Shirts, prints etc.

Don’t forget to sign your name on the wall near the Bar at the end of the tour.

Map of Banks Beer Brewery Tour

Banks Beer Barbados Tour

Other Banks Brewery Products

  • Deputy Beer
  • Guinness Beer – bottled and distributed
  • Vex Yellow Monkey – Craft Beer
  • Coconut Cooler – 0.5% alcohol content
  • Twist
  • Plus Active Sports Drink
  • Plus
  • Tiger Malt – non-alcoholic

Banks (Barbados) Breweries Ltd are proud to support many events in Barbados each year:

Banks Beer Barbados Tour

Banks Breweries are great supporters or many sporting events throughout Barbados

General Information to help plan your visit to Barbados

Barbados has a large range of accommodation to suit all travellers from all inclusive hotels, hotels, apartments and villas. We use the largest booking site Hotels Combined for the latest deals and availability.

Here are some of our favourites:

Sandy Lane Hotel

Sandals Barbados

Mango Bay Resort

What to do in Barbados

Read more: Barbados an Insider Guide

Catamaran Lunch Cruise with Action Charters

Lickrish Food Walking Tour of Barbados

Round Island Tour with Williams Tours

Atlantis Barbados Night Time Dive Tour

Mount Gay Rum Tour

 

We also enjoyed eating out at the following restaurants, where you can also enjoy an ice cold Banks Beer.

Tapas Restaurant Barbados

Sitar Indian Restaurant Barbados

The Tides Restaurant Barbados

Cafe Sol Mexican Restaurant

Barbados Weather

Barbados has a peak period during the Northern European Winter season from November through to April.  At this time the weather is warm and dry but it is also the busy tourist season.  From June through to the end of October the Caribbean region can experience hurricanes.

To check the latest airfare deals we recommend using Skyscanner.

You may also want to consider hiring a car to travel around the island. The length of the island is 34km and the breadth is 23km.  At times the roads can be narrow and bumpy. They drive on the left side of the road.

If you enjoyed our article why not PIN it for later:

Banks Beer Barbados Tour

Further reading:

 


Travel Insurance is recommended every time you travel.  We use World Nomads to insure us completely whilst on the road.

 

 

 

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DISCLOSURE:  We enjoyed this tour as a guest of Banks Beer Breweries Barbados but received no further remuneration to write this post.  We were not expected to write a positive review – all views are our own and we retain full editorial control.

Disclosure: Certain links in this post are affiliate links. This means that should you make a purchase via our link, we will receive a commission which will not affect the price you pay.

 

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22 Comments

  • David says:

    Gotta have me a cold one. Your guides are really comprehensive and great. Thanks.

  • Pooja says:

    That’s a great way to spend a holiday!! It’s fascinating to see the brewing industry. Even we love to taste the local cuisine and local brew of the place we are visiting. Looks like you had a great time.

  • We always try to visit breweries when we travel as my husband is a huge fan of trying beers around the world and he’s a home brewer too, so always good to see how other brewers do their thing. Looks like Banks are set up very well for visitors and their shop looks so colourful too.

  • Carrie Ann Karstunen says:

    This sounds like a fun tour to take, and samples at the end? Yes, please! I bet it was fascinating to see how it’s made and bottled, especially with the volume of product they produce in a day. Putting this on my activities list for the next time we’re in Barbados!

  • Kate says:

    I love these types of behind the scenes tours! I especially love that Banks Beer has thought through the importance of being able to recycle and incentivize their customers to recycle. And that they use solar panels to improve their energy efficiency. These are the interesting tidbits that I love knowing when choosing my drink of choice.

  • Raghav says:

    Such a great way to spend a few hours. I took a similar excursion when in Amsterdam visiting the Heineken beer “factory”. My time in Barbados was limited to just one day since it was the port from where our cruise left, so I did miss out on a lot of its funs spots. Even though it is on the other side of the world for me, I hope to return someday and this time will definitely go for the Banks beer tours.

    • Hi Raghav
      Thanks for your comments. I would like to visit the Heineken beer factory in Amsterdam. Hope you get to visit Banks!
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • Daniel says:

    Wow, this tour sounds so exciting! I absolutely love and support the part in which they incentivize their customers to recycle, I really appreciate that. Would definitely want to try this someday 🙂 Thanks for the lovely recommendation

  • Yukti says:

    Visiting banks beer Barbados tour looks interesting as to see big copper kettle and to smell aromatic grains inside the building. I loved the red interiors and exteriors of Banks visitors Center. Thanks for sharing all details in depth.

  • I love these brewery/distillery/winery tours. Its just the best of knowledge and pleasure and it also serves as the perfect topic to chat, when drinking with a group of friends to mention a fact about the drink!
    Barbados dollar is twice the value of dollar? Wow, that is costly indeed!

  • I love these brewery/distillery/winery tours. Its just the best of knowledge and pleasure and it also serves as the perfect topic to chat, when drinking with a group of friends to mention a fact about the drink!
    Been to Heinekin, Leffe and a few others. Its always a fun experience. Would love to go on this too.
    Barbados dollar is half the value of dollar? That’s manageable.

  • Anda says:

    Barbados looks beautiful and this definitely looks like a fun tour to take. I’m not a beer drinker, but I’m always interested in finding out how different wines, beers or spirits are made. It’s good to know that they recycle the beer bottles.

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