The world’s best distilleries to visit

28th May, 2013 by Annie Hayes

It’s not just vineyards making a buck or two from tourism. With opportunities to fill your own bottle of Scotch and wade through sugar cane, the world’s best distilleries provide visitors with some unique experiences.

World's Best Distilleries Benedictine Palace

Some of the world’s best distilleries are stunningly beautiful

Distilleries across the globe welcome millions of visitors through their doors every year, enabling spirit fans to grab a glimpse beyond the label of some of their favourite tipples.

Thanks to the visitors’ centres, museums and guides, the fascinating process from base ingredient to bottle can be observed in detail, often with a little taster of the end result.

Distillery tourism has become a major institution in the past 50 years, as spirit consumption – and a consumer interest in provenance and history – has risen. So much in fact, that many distilleries invest heavily in providing a magical experience for their visitors.

Just last month Diageo unveiled its new £1 million visitors’ centre at Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye, while Chivas Brothers’ Speyside distillery The Glenlivet also recently opened its own interactive timeline of the brand’s history onsite.

While some offer the chance to smell the malty aroma of the mash tuns and become entranced by the ballet of the bottling plant machinery, others are starting to give visitors the opportunity to fill their own exclusive bottle of spirit.

Some meanwhile offer a little more than you might expect, like the Old Bushmills Distillery, which hosts the annual Bushmills Live festival; the only music event held in an Irish whiskey distillery.

So whether you’re enthralled by the art and craft of distillation, itching to snap up an exclusive distillery edition or just eager to educate your palate, there’s a distillery to suit everyone’s taste. We’ve listed what we think are the top distilleries to visit in the world.

Have we missed your favourite distillery out? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

2 Responses to “The world’s best distilleries to visit”

  1. Dan W. says:

    For history buffs there’s nothing like the George Washington Distillery at Mount Vernon, Virginia. Learn about how whiskey was made 200 years ago. They don’t make very much there but if you go at just the right time you might be able to buy some of their expensive handmade whiskey based on George Washington’s original recipe before it sells out.

  2. stephen myers says:

    For a beautiful, small and artisinal production facility you can’t go past Ilegal Mezcal in Oaxaca, Mexico. The traditional methods they use are amazing as is the mezcal they produce.

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