Above: the Bahamian Brewery in Grand Bahama (all photos by CJ)
By Robert DiPano
FREEPORT — No trip to Grand Bahama Island would be complete without a tour of Freeport’s own Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Company, the maker of Sands Beer.
Opened in December of 2007 by Jimmy Sands, the 100 percent-Bahamian-owned business sits atop 20 acres and boasts over 60,000 sq ft of structures and counting.
Sands has been giving its Nassau competitor and the brewer of Kalik— Commonwealth Brewery — a real run for it money, with a $2 million expansion underway and plans to invest up to $15 million over the next decade or so.
As a testament to its popularity, the company hopes to add to its geographical footprint and product line once expansion is complete.
The hope is to be able to keep up with the existing demand, perhaps warranting another local “name those beers” competition.
Consulting with German brewing experts, Sands runs a truly state-of-the-art brewing and bottling facility with a strong commitment to bringing back recycled bottles from throughout the region.
CJ enjoyed a private tour of the facility and sampling of its full product line, which currently includes Sands, Sands Light, High Rock (premium lager), Bush Crack (slightly higher alcohol content), Strong Back Stout, and Virgil’s, an ale produced exclusively for Virgil’s Real Barbecue in the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island.
The company also offers Triple B, a non-alcoholic malt alternative.
CJ’s favourite part of the tour, of course, was its last stop — the private tap room — where we were particularly impressed by the smoothness and complex flavours of the Strong Back Stout.
If you’re a beer drinker seeking a truly Grand Bahamian experience, we suggest you stick with Sands.