Ten enticing virtual distillery tours
Drinkers are now able to get up close and personal to the homes of their favourite tipples without actually having to go there. We present 10 of the most captivating virtual distillery tours.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, consumers can immerse themselves in distillery tours across the world from the comfort of their own homes.
The spirits world has embraced innovative technologies to provide informative tours of their sites using virtual reality, or by creating 360-degree videos.
From Japan’s first gin distillery to Scotch whisky sites on Islay and in Speyside, consumers can learn about the history behind some of the world’s biggest brands, explore natural surroundings and see how certain spirits are made.
Click through to see our pick of the top 10 virtual distillery tours. Please note, some of these videos may need 3D glasses.
Tequila fans can check out Patrón’s distillery through an augmented reality app that transports iPhone users to the site in Jalisco, Mexico.
Titled The Patrón Experience, the augmented reality platform provides a portal to the distillery where consumers can learn about the unique characteristics and ageing process of ultra-premium Tequila.
The experience offers an in-depth look at Patrón’s range of Tequilas. Customers encounter life-sized bottles of Patrón expressions accompanied by a bartender vignette. With a tap on the phone, the bartender provides a guided explanation of the tasting notes and barrel-ageing process (where applicable) for each featured product.
The virtual tour can also be viewed on Patrón’s website.
Islay distillery Laphroaig is offering a 360-degree tour of its idyllic Scotch whisky site on its website.
According to the virtual tour, it is one of the few distilleries that malts by hand and the site has been making whisky for more than 200 years. Viewers can take in the depths of the peat bogs, the crackling of the kiln and Laphroaig’s journey from water to whisky.
Bourbon lovers from around the world can enjoy an interactive virtual tour of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, and learn more about the site and how the brand’s Bourbon is made.
The tour’s appearance changes with the seasons, so users can view the distillery in bloom in spring, or snow-covered in winter.
Bottles of Bourbon have also been hidden around the tour, and users are invited to find them while exploring the grounds.
The virtual tour is free and can be downloaded from the Buffalo Trace Distillery website. It is compatible with Windows or Apple desktop computers, iPads and iPhones.
Edrington-owned single malt Scotch whisky The Macallan opened the doors to its £140 million (US$172,000) distillery in June 2018.
Designed by the firm behind London’s Millennium Dome, the site’s roof took inspiration from ancient Scottish hills while “minimising the visual impact” on the Speyside countryside.
Now, consumers can take an interactive virtual tour of the jaw-dropping site, which allows viewers to uncover the history behind the brand, find out about its production and its “curiously small stills”, as well as take a peak at its barrel room.
The tour features four chapters, with an introduction to the distillery, an in-depth look at the design, followed by stories behind the brand and an exploration of the whisky collection.
To mark its 150th anniversary in 2016, Tennessee whiskey brand Jack Daniel’s created an immersive 360-degree virtual reality experience that takes fans on a tour of its distillery.
The technology takes viewers through “sensory rich” locations in the distillery, from the rick yard, where sugar maple ricks are burned down for use in the whiskey’s charcoal mellowing process, to the summit of the barrel house with master distiller Jeff Arnett.
Ketel One Vodka
Ketel One Vodka is offering the chance to take a virtual reality tour of its 325-year-old Nolet Family Distillery in Schiedam, Holland.
The Ketel One Virtual Reality Tour allows viewers to take an interactive tour of the historic site and also offers a cocktail demonstration narrated by master mixologist Dale DeGroff.
Head to the Ketel One website to view the full tour.
Paul Miller, co-founder of Scottish distillery and brewery Eden Mill, takes viewers on a tour of its site in St Andrews. The distillery uses traditional methods to make its range, which includes gin, whisky and beer.
The site aims to achieve a zero-carbon footprint with an “emphasis on sustainable whisky production”.
Whisky enthusiasts will have the opportunity to visit the Glenfiddich distillery in Speyside using virtual reality (VR) technology.
Users begin by soaring above the Speyside countryside before they are plunged into the Dufftown-based distillery, hosted by a Scottish guide.
Consumers are given a unique perspective from inside a mash tun while steaming copper pot stills slide past, fermenters drop down and thousands of casks build up around them in the warehouse.
Japan’s Kyoto Distillery, which recently secured a major investment from French firm Pernod Ricard, offers a tour of its distillery and a behind-the-scenes look at how its Ki No Bi gin is made.
The Kyoto Distillery was established in Kyoto in 2014 by Marcin Miller and the distillery’s CEO, David Croll. It was Japan’s first dedicated gin distillery.
The 360-degree tour can be viewed on the distillery’s website.
Filmed using a drone, the virtual reality tour brings to life Bowmore distillery’s No.1 Vaults, said to be the oldest Scotch maturation warehouse.
In the tour, viewers can learn how Bowmore whiskies are made and blended, while experiencing the wider distillery.
The tour can be viewed on the Samsung Gear VR app from the Oculus store or by using the Google Cardboard app from the Google Play store.