brendaemily on Trip Advisor
2 years ago
01/20/2019, 00:02 AM
Wonderful place, terrible "tour"
First thing's first: this place is great, and you should go there. The rum is top-notch, the vibe is chill, and the out-of-the-way location only adds to its appeal (for me). So why the poor rating? It was the tour.
My friend and I were doing a girls' weekend in Pittsburgh, and thought the "distillery tour" would be a great addition to our activities. It wasn't. Let me explain. The "tour" is $20 per person, so for one hour for the two of us it was $42.80 with tax. No worries, if it would be worth it. Well, we arrived and the tour began promptly. We were asked, with about 7 or 8 other people on the tour, to step into the area behind the bar. This is were most of the rum production occurs, and can be seen from the bar area itself. Our "tour guide" was also the distiller himself, which is pretty cool. He sat down on a stool and started talking. While we stood there. And stood there. And stood there. For an hour, he sat and talked while the group shifted back and forth on our feet, just standing there without even a glass of water. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, but the huge majority of what he discussed was the history behind rum, which did get a bit tedious. And not to be too nit-picky, but he showed up to lead the "tour" in an obviously sweaty t-shirt, so the visuals there weren't great. He did point to the various things in the room used in the distilling process, and explain how that works. Finally, an hour later, the "tour" was concluding. He broke out several bottles of rum and put a splash of each, one by one, into a thimble-sized disposable plastic cup for each of us. These, we were expected to sip in succession, with no water, no nibbles, nothing to drink or munch in between. My friend loves rum, but she wasn't very interested in sipping a full-proof liquor straight, then moving on to another. And that was it. The "tour" was over. Yes, you get a souvenir glass to take home, but I have too many souvenir glasses already, and I wasn't in this for the glass, it was for the experience. Which was bad. We were so relieved when it was over.
Now, as someone who's worked in three different breweries, I think that tours can be a wonderful thing. This particular tour clearly needs an overhaul, and my suggestions are below. Or, you can stop reading now. I would definitely recommend visiting this place and having a delicious beverage at the bar!
First, to improve the tour, incorporate the product throughout the experience. Figure out how to introduce each different type of rum at, say, 10-minute intervals, so the tasting is a part of the tour. Provide water and perhaps some bland crackers or other munchies to go along with these tastings.
Second, MOVE! Go on an actual tour! There's a sweet-looking back room that you can view through some windows -- why didn't we go back there?!? Walk around the distilling room itself. Maybe have "stations" set up where the different rums will be sampled. Don't force people to stand in one spot for an hour!
Third, provide seating for the group, not just the tour guide. My friend recently had vein surgery, and shouldn't have been standing still the whole time like that. Other people were clearly annoyed and uncomfortable as well.
Fourth, provide a bit more booze. For $20 I don't expect to get hammered, but a warm feeling of joviality would be nice, and would get the group interacting and enjoying the experience, rather than standing woodenly side-by-side. My friend and I left sober as toddlers.
Maggie's Farm Rum, I believe in you! You can do this!