Lucky Bucket brewery is a small business that prides itself on “pre-prohibition” beer.
The LaVista-based brewery employs about 12 people and bottles its beer by hand. Following Prohibition, small-sized breweries disappeared off the landscape and large factory-sized breweries dominated.
These were a few tidbits we learned during our tour of the “brewery” recently.
Lucky Bucket occupies a few bays in a non-descript strip center in the Nebraska town.
It produces about 7500 barrels of beer a year.
We tried two beers during our visit. An ale that reminded me of German beer, and a lager. We preferred the ale over the lager. But, that’s just us. We are not real beer drinkers (at least not much anymore).
The tour showed how Lucky Bucket beer is made.
A 20-gallon tank houses the barley that is the foundation for the tasty brew. The items are mixed with water to become “liquor” or basically sugar water. Wheat is added for wheat beers, etc. In addition, “secret ingredients” are added for special beers.
The brewery uses malt supplied from three areas – Germany, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Yeast is then added in the fermentation tanks (six of them are on site). Each tank basically makes 26,000 beers.
Wort remains from the fermentation tanks are picked up a farmer for cattle feed. Wort is safe for cattle to eat.
The beer is hand-bottled. Employees actually put each bottle on the conveyer belt. This limits the amount of bottles that are filled daily, so the production numbers vary.
Once bottled, the beer is loaded into containers for delivery.
Lucky Bucket distributes in a five-state market – Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Tennessee. Tennessee? Yep. A craft beer distributor likes Lucky Bucket and wanted to distribute in that state.
Lucky Bucket is focused on expanding distribution in Nebraska, our guide said. The beer currently is sold across the Omaha Metro area.
Brewery owners long have wanted to produce whiskey. Nebraska state law once prohibited producing spirits and liquors. The law was changed in 2008.
Now, Cut Spike whiskey is produced by the brewery owners. Along with it, are whiskey and rum.
Cut Spike is newer, so there isn’t a lot of the product in the marketplace. It takes about two years to age whiskey. Rum ages for about 1.5 years.
Whether you like the taste of a good beer, or have a preference for a shot of whiskey, Lucky Bucket is a nice way to spend an hour or so of your time. It was a fun tour.
For more information, please visit Lucky Bucket’s website at www.luckybucketbrewing.com.
NOTE: We visited Lucky Bucket after buying a tour on Groupon. For possible discounts on tours and other items, please visit www.groupon.com.