Tuesday is bottling day at Millstream Brewery. Yesterday the staff there put up with me taking photos and asking questions as they bottled 400 cases of beer. That is 9,600 bottles of beer or 900 gallons.A lot of beer, and yesterday was a slow day. During the summer they bottle anywhere from 800 to 1000 cases of beer and pop.
Feeling like I was in the beginning of Lavern and Shirley show I watched as Tom placed empty bottles into the bottling machine. Off the bottles went to be filled, capped and labeled, then to be picked up and put in sleeves and then boxed. The bottling machine is from the 1950s and was originally used in a Coke facility. Looks like it is still going strong today.
Millstream Brewery originally opened in 1985, the first brewery to operate in Amana since 1884. In 2000, the current owners, Chris Priebe, Tom and Teresa Albert, bought the business and have been making award winning beer ever since. This past year has been great for Millstream Brewery, they are up 12% in sales and their beer can now be found in bars, restaurants and grocery stories around the whole state of Iowa and not just Eastern Iowa, like in the past. This upswing in sales has allowed them to buy new brewing equipment that allows them to brew beer in half of the time they were before. A new brewing room with shinny new brewing equipment has lead to construction on an indoor seating room with a view of the brewing room.
In Iowa there is a lot of talk about eating local food and buying from the farmers and producers who grow or make the food near you. Here in the Amana Colonies we are lucky to have quite a few farmers and producers right here in our town. Millstream is just one piece of that green puzzle for me. And just another reason I feel lucky to live in the Amana Colonies.
My favorite beer at Millstream?
John’s White Ale. Try it next time you come to town.