Employee Nathan Groves pours a beer from the tap in the Centre for Beer Lovers.A TOUR of James Boag’s Brewery is to step back to a swashbuckling Launceston when beer makers lined the two rivers that converge on the old city.

Up to 11 breweries operated in Launceston when James Boag and his son, James Boag II, began to make a name for themselves in the early 1880s.

Sellers of the breweries’ efforts were more abundant _ from the working class Tamar Hotel to the upper crust Lame Dog Hotel.

A lot has changed in that time including how the beer gets from broth to bottle.

While the essentials will always be the same _ yeast, barley, water _ industrial and technological improvements have created a factory floor that would be barely recognisable to Mr Boag.

In 2009 the company’s new owners, beverage conglomerate Lion Nathan, spent $25 million doubling the capacity of the William Street brewery.

It included bringing in state-of-the-art operations technology while at the same time balancing the site’s heritage status.

The upgrade saw a new brew house tucked neatly behind the original one which sits flashing Boag’s at the end of George Street.

Despite modern technology things can still get pretty heated in the brew house with temperatures reaching 40 degrees, thanks largely to a mega-kettle which boils 50,000-litre batches of wort for several hours.

This eventually becomes 50,000 litres of beer after a process of mashing, boiling, fermentation and lagering.

It all takes about a week.

A non-alcoholic by-product _ essentially mashed up barley _ is sold and delivered to farmers in the district as feed.

A block down from the Boag’s brewery is its bottling plant.

Here beer bottles are rinsed, filled and labelled at a dizzying rate of 860 a minute.

The brewery produces 100 million litres of beer a year and employs 130 people locally.

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