It's possible to book a 90-minute tour of the Demerara Distillery, home to world-renowned El Dorado rum. It can be hot, noisy, and the smell of molasses is thick in the air (and you'll be asked to wear a hairnet under a hard-hat!), but for those who appreciate the beverage it is a pleasant thrill to see where it is all made.

The tour includes inspections of the yeast generators, fermentation vats, stainless steel and wooden distillers, and barrel warehouse. Conditions around the distillery are distressingly grimy, but the tour caps off with a visit to the spotless "Rum Museum" for a view of some historically important (?) photographs as well as the inevitable and long-awaited tastings. You'll walk out the door with a complementary bottle of 5-year El Dorado, too!

As of October 2009 construction is underway to add a new series of fermentation tanks to increase output, as well as to capture methane from the production process to fuel the boilers. CO2 discharge from the fermentation is already piped to an adjacent facility to add fizz to Guyana Pepsi!

Note to rum drinkers headed to Guyana: best prices are found both at Survival Supermarket in Georgetown and the DDL factory outlet store in the departure terminal of Cheddi Jagan airport. The factory store adjacent to the distillery sells at standard liqour-store prices, but does offer otherwise hard-to-find mini bottles. Elsewhere note that it is eminently cheaper to grab a 12 or 15 year bottle in town and BYOB at restaurants rather than enduring the less-than-a-shot servings found in most establishments. No one charges a corkage fee, but kindly keep the actual bottle off the table between pours.