So today we visited the Corona Brewery near Zacatecas. It’s a huge place, the guide intoned that it’s the second largest brewery in the world, after Coors in Colorado.
The first three minutes of the tour was in English and Spanish, the rest in Spanish only.Â So there are only a few nuggets of information that I collected.Â Most of the time while the tour guide talked, I wandered a short way off and took photographs.
Here are the other pieces of information: the brewery creates two billion liters of beer a year, fifty percent is exported, it is owned by the Modelo group and brews not only Corona, but Modelo and Victoria beers.
The tour began in the same room in which it was to end, a room scattered with tables and chairs, and a wooden bar in the corner, but they did not give us beer before the tour, which is probably smart. But they did show us a video, and although I couldn’t understand what was said, the graphics and images reinforced my idea that a beautiful life includes drinking Corona.
On a side note, next to us was the souvenir shop, and above the door was an inscription:
‘Tienda De Propaganda’
Is it ironic that a brewery is selling t-shirts with their name emblazoned upon them, and they call it Propaganda?
Ok, ok, yes I know, it probably means something else in Spanish, but playing with different languages is so much fun, because it shows the underlying meaning of words, or maybe their similarity to what I was really thinking when I saw the rows of t-shirts waiting to be bought and advertise their product.
But after the video show, we were led into a room that had a 20 by 12 foot diorama of the brewery complex on the floor, when the tour director -who’s name was Roman – described a certain building or area, he pushed a button on the podium and little lights lit up the little buildings.Â It was really neat, in a useless sort of way, but I kept looking at the two posters on the wall, because they made me smile.
12 Reasons to Drink Beer:
Reason Number 1: It’s good for your heart, and if you are a mutant and can control people’s minds, it will help to control Cerebro, like Patrick Stewart.
2. Helps (create? – remove?) obesity.
3. Helps alienate the wrong type of friends. (i.e….’Never trust a man who doesn’t drink.’ – W. C. Fields)
4.Â It has folic acid. (That’s probably good for me.Â Right?)
6. Diuretic, like we need that.
7. Aids digestion, especially of that cheap burrito at three in the morning.
8. After fifteen beers, it helps you to relax for hours, wherever you happen to be.
9. It makes breast-feeding wonderful. (And helps the child sleep.)
10. Beer Makes Menopause Fabulous!
11. The ‘beer only’ diet is good for you, kinda like that Atkins thingy.
12. Beer is good in Belize.
The tour continued.
This photograph is of the tour group standing in front of the first of three buildings we were to enter, with the group staring at the map of Mexico inlaid into the concrete, and the cooking beer steaming from the roof behind.
I noticed in the entrance hall photographs of the whole brewery complex being built, the date on the photograph was 1999.
Two young ladies living for a short time in Zacatecas learning Spanish.Â Haria (Florida) and Susan (New Mexico)
We then stepped into that glass enclosed building, warm like a sauna, where giant kettles cooked the beer.
The highly polished mirror-like ceiling reflects the enormous cauldrons cooking the beer.
One cauldron was open, and the hot beer swirled, creating a vortex of bubbles circling rapidly in the center.
A closer view of the swirling bubbles of THOUSANDS OF GALLONS OF BEER.
(sorry about the shouting, but, well, damn that’s a lot of beer.)
The computers making the beer.Â With a few employees watching the computers, we sarcastically assumed they played solitare (watched porn?!) with most of their days and flicked on the work screens as tourists crowded in.
The second building was topped by these huge beer holders.
I would guess that they were fermentation tanks, but not sure, because again, I could not understand the tour guide, but this building was kept at room temperature, with condensation dripping slowly from the thousands of miles of pipes running through the building.
One of the 3000 employees watering the plants between buildings.
Art!Â Looking between the beer silos.
Just about to step into the second building.
A rat trap outside the second building.Â I always find it wonderful to see rat traps outside somewhere making food.Â It makes me a little disturbed and disgusted, but then again it is probably better than not having the traps, and letting the rats in.
Inside the second building, underneath the yellow and white fermentation tanks, my god, all that beer, Bob and Doug McKenzie -from the movie Strange Brew-Â keep running through my mind, “You don’t know how to drive a truck.”Â “No, but it’s a beer truck!”
More inside the second building.
I love group photographs.
Men working in the beer factory, they don’t look too excited, even though they nodded and smiled at my photography request, probably because they’re working, and sick of the damn tourists visiting their brewery.
Now into the third building.
The Bottling ‘it’s bigger than you think’ Plant:
[Click on the Panorama to see the full size]
I couldn’t quite read their name tags, but I think they said Laverne and Shirley.
Beer clinking along the metal conveyor belts, the whole room is filled with the almost deafening clink of bottles, aluminum cans, and rattling metal.
I think their name tags said Lenny and Squiggy.
Finally after the tour, we returned to the bar, and we finally got free beer.Â But Free Corona Light, in a can shaped like a red bull can.Â I guess they don’t sell very well, so us tourists get the left overs.
But then again, I shouldn’t complain, it was free beer.
We relaxed in the bar for a couple hours, and after four or five beers, clambered back into the van, passing the enormous grain towers in the setting sun.
We, of course, had to stop on the fifteen mile drive home, so all could pile out at an abandoned football field, to empty our bladders of all that damn beer.