The Alaskan Brewing Company is located at Shaune Drive in Juneau, Alaska and is just a 10 minute drive from Juneau International Airport via Glacier Highway. Juneau is bordered by the Pacific waters of the Inside Passage and the Tongass National Forest sits hard against the 1,500 square-mile Juneau Icefield. Only 50 miles of road run along the shores of the Gastineau Channel and Lynn Canal, making Juneau accessible by sea or air only.
There has been a long history of beer brewing in Alaska dating back to the 18th century and the Alaskan Brewing Company became the 67th brewing company in the United States when it opened in 1986. It was the first brewery in Juneau since prohibition when it was started up by Marcy and Geoff Larson. The couple along with 10 volunteers spent 12 hours hand packaging the first 253 cases of Alaskan Amber for distribution in Juneau when operations began, but now their success has seen the distribution expand to 10 western states.
Tours of the brewery are provided seven days a week from 11am to 6pm between May and September and 11am to 5pm Thursday to Saturday between October and April. This includes a complimentary presentation and beer sample and a look at the brewery, which is located in the same building as when it opened in 1986, although it has grown in size from 2,000 square feet to 35,000 square feet. To sample the beer, visitors must have photo identification with them as proof they are over 21 years old.
The tours are free and aim to teach people how beer is made here with visitors invited to observe the 10-barrel brewing system as well as the company's 100 barrel brewing system. There are also a number of artifacts on display relating to the history of brewing in Alaska, along with a collection of beer bottles and cans from other countries. Visitors also get the chance to meet the people who work here, ask questions and buy samples of their work.
The brewery has a gift shop with the same hours of opening as the tours and visitors can purchase various gifts and souvenirs. These include items of clothing such as hats and shirts, glassware, bottle openers and other Alaskan Brewing Company novelty items. Visitors can also buy beer direct from the brewery with individual bottles, 6-packs, 12-packs, cases of beer and 5-gallon kegs sold here.
There are many different types of beer brewed and bottled at the brewery including seasonal beers and year round beers such as Amber, IPA and Stout, and the quality of the beer has been recognized with over 100 awards and medals, almost half of which have been gold. Not only are the beers good for drinking but they can be used for cooking too with recipes available at the brewery. Previous visitors here have provided good reviews of the tours saying they enjoyed the guided tours and of course the beer sampling.