Distillery Map – Visit UK Gin Makers
We belong to a world of informed consumers, particularly in the gin trade. People don’t just want to know that a gin is tasty, they want to know who made it, how and why. This has led to huge emphasis being placed on transparency and accessibility, which – as many distillers have realised – is best demonstrated by flinging open the doors and welcoming the public in.
On the back of this, a new tourism trend is starting to emerge – that of the boozy staycation. The promotion of ‘Gin Trails’ have even been subsidised by government departments…! Realising that there are many people as geeky as us out there, we put on our researching hats and drew up a Distillery Map, which shows all of the UK’s Gin distilleries with open door policies that we know of.
Gin is everywhere. Cast your mind’s eye to the most northern point of the United Kingdom, then cast a little further. We’re talking towards Norway, here… The Isle of Unst is the northernmost inhabited lump of rock in the British Isles, accessed by taking three (three!) ferries from Aberdeen (one of which takes 12 hours). Despite a lack of proximity to, well… anything, the island is home to the Saxa Vord Distillery, a gin, vodka and whisky producer with an open door policy. Should you find yourself in the deep, deep north at some point, you can head on over to the distillery for one of their guided tours, complete with tastings.
From the most remote locations to the most metropolitan, from beach to lake, there are a wealth of distilleries offering up different experiences for gin fans, each of which is included in this handy map. Perhaps less spoken about however, are all the different scales of operation that are possible to engage with too. The sheer scale of the Plymouth Gin stills, the architectural wonder that is Bombay’s Laverstoke Mill, the intimate nature of a Pickering’s tour or even the farm to glass approach demonstrated by riding through the fields surrounding Chase. From gallons to millilitres at a time – It’s all possible to watch flow from glorious copper stills.
Distillery experiences are designed to be both educational and inspirational too, so there are plenty of chances to make your own gin should you want to try it for yourself; Greensand Ridge, 58, The City of Manchester Distillery, Adnams, City of London, Edinburgh Distillery, Portobello Road… an ever expanding list of distilleries are on hand to give wannabe Ginsmiths a lesson in distilling, before unleashing them on their high-tech equipment.
For those that are more into the tasting than the doing, there’s Puddingstone Distillery in the Chiltern Hills, Dunnet Bay up in Caithness, there’s the Cotswolds Distillery in Stourton for those that fancy a weekend getaway and, for those that can’t call a holiday a holiday without a splash around, the Lakes Distillery.
Whichever you choose, the best thing about these unique tours, visitor centres and experiences are that for the vast majority of ginsmiths, they are not intended as a money making exercise. The primary function for tours (in the eyes of most of these craft distillers) is to connect with fans and create a moment where they will walk away wanting to tell their friends about it. Because of this, a lot of effort is invested into hosting visitors, making the experience personal, flexible and as much about the personality of a place as it is the spirit that’s created. Frequently, the value of the experience compared to what you pay for it is incredible. If you haven’t ever been around a distillery – don’t hesitate. Find your local and plot your course from there…
Download the Distillery Map HERE.
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