Perched next to the beachfront in Badalona sits a statue of a very human faced monkey looking out to sea. His gaze looks towards the Mediterranean but is also firmly fixed on a bottle of the liquor anis del mono. This statue indicates you are outside the factory that has been producing Barcelona’s famous anisette since the 19th century.
The factory is open to visitors one Sunday a month via a guided tour hosted by the Museu Badalona. I won’t give too much away and you’re only permitted to take photos in selected areas of this still-working factory, but over 1.5 hours you are entertainingly explained the history of the site, the brand and the distinctive packaging, shown some of the factory’s Modernisme features and of course talked through the production process.
The sweet, pungent smell from sacks of anise and distillation permeate the air as you are guided through the factory and marvel at the quantity that this small plant is capable of producing. In addition they are the current producers of the Montserrat liquors and also a secret ingredient which is produced once a year that makes its way into those cystal-esque bottles with the aniseed spirit.
Tours are in Catalan or Spanish but the guide assured me they can be requested in English if needed. Sadly there’s no tasting at the end of the tour, which is a shame as it would be a fun and appropriate way to round off the morning, but at 5.50€ entrance per visitor it’s a great value experience. Just take yourself off to one of the many bars on the beach side promenade for a tipple or two afterwards instead.
Fabrica Anís del Mono, c/ Eduard Maristany, 115 Badalona
Bookings are made by emailing the Museu Badalona, details in links in the article.