Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Monday 3-21-11

This morning we woke up a bit later and had a traditional English breakfast. We then took the tube to Fuller's Brewery. The first impression was very nice. It is a family owned brewery and had an older style feel to it. We started the tour which was amazing! We started by the river which was completely dry when we first walked up. Our tour guide said that ships will roll in with the tide and drop off the necessary ingredients to the brewery. It was early in the morning but he said that the tide would roll in and completely cover the street (which it did later!)

He showed us where the grains get used for the sugars. In the end, the brewery ends up giving the grains to animals such as cows, to eat so it doesn't go to waste. We went into the main area of the factory where we saw that they mainly store the beer and ale in steel casks instead of wooden barrels. Our guide said it was because they wanted to be able to have the taste come from the beer instead of the storage container. They do preserve some beer in whiskey barrels and age them throughout the years. These type of beers are more expensive.

He then showed us what hops looked like and how they're grown. Different regions can grow various items and England is great at growing hops. It adds a special flavor to the beer. He then showed us the mashing, boiling, and fermenting process. The fermenting stage is crucial stage because it is the difference between a good and bad beer.

They stated that their special ingredient is their dominant yeast. Their yeast creates the unique flavor and they have it secretly stored in case the factory ever caught on fire. Their yeast has the same DNA which is why their beers taste the same. It also creates an orange peel characteristic of the beers. The factory was enormous and I really got to see how intense the beer making process is.

Our tour guide showing us the big mashing machine they used to use to mix up the beer!

Fun Fact: Our guide told us that women under age 25 have the best noses and senses for beer tasting. Application please!

We then got to taste all of the different types of beer and they were all delicious. Throughout the tour we discussed some of the marketing theories that make the brewery unique. One way to keep their customers happy is through their quality of beer. They go through an intense process to make the beer perfect. This creates brand loyalty throughout the years. Customers like the beer, know where it is coming from, and like the company's quality and standards. Our guide also discussed how they don't try to sell to the mass market--they sell their beer to a niche market of people who prefer quality over quantity. They also hold their brewery to higher standards than the government requires them to do because it is just a part of their company atmosphere. Overall the tour was great and I learned about their marketing strategies and beer making process.

Art work on the wall of all the different types of beer they make. Europeans pride themselves on beer and it is pretty much an insult not to try it!

We then went back to the restaurant part of the brewery and ate fish and chips which was delicious. After a short stop in the gift shop we decided to walk along the river and look at the different pubs. We got back onto the tube and went to Harrod's. I don't think I could afford the toilet paper there. There were so many different levels and they all were so neat but I also watched the people and saw how snotty some of them were being. I guess I am also surprised at how busy it was because of the world economy. Everything was so expensive but it was packed full of a variety of people.

We took the tube earlier in the day and decided to get something to drink and eat cheese and crackers in Hyde Park Corner. We decided to try to get the pigeons to come to us by giving them some crackers and one of the pigeons was quite entertaining. We talked about the future investments and stocks, a possible reunion trip in California, how Swinder grew up, scholarships at K-State, etc. We also talked about Swinder's winter break trip to South America. I really hope I can afford to go! We closed down our little park party by doing the K-State Circle and having a good laugh.

K-S-U Wildcats!

We then went to the theatre where we saw Grease. I thought they did a great job of adapting the firm to a play version. They got the crowd excited and it was a great British show to see live! We decided to get a bite to eat at a little Italian restaurant which was very relaxing and relatively inexpensive. I really liked the spices they used on my pizza. We never found a waffle stand but it was a wonderful day and I can't wait for the Cadbury chocolate factory tomorrow!

Til next time!

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