What do you get when you mix the fun of a theme park, the educational value of a museum and the cultural experience of a tour with some of the world’s most famous beers, wines and spirits? The result is a drink tourist attraction that offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy themselves but also to learn about how these beverages are made, to understand them better and of course, to taste them with the guidance of experts.
The drink tourist attractions on this guide go beyond being a brewery, winery or distillery that happens to accept tourists or that have a small museum area attached, these are places built or refurbished to bring in thousands of visitors and they are proper theme parks created around a type of drink or a brand where you get the whole drinksneyland feeling: the tourists queuing eagerly, the funny selfie-friendly bits, the café and the gift shop. They might not have roller coasters (which is perhaps for the best) but they are some of their cities’ highlights and are worth a visit if you’re in town.
Ireland’s number 1 visitor attraction is a seven floor building which has received over fourteen million people since it opened to the public in the year 2000. The first part of the tour guides you through the four basic ingredients of beer (water, barley, hops and yeast) as well as providing a bit of background on the history of Ireland’s most famous beer, Guinness.
Besides learning about how Guinness is made, you can participate in a guided tasting, learn how to properly pour a pint (and drink it if you want to), enter “The Tasting Rooms” to experience the aromas of Guinness isolated in a sci-fiesque setting, or have food (they have a café and a restaurant in which the dishes were created to highlight the black stuff).
Where is it: St James’s Gate, Dublin 8. Ireland.
Don’t miss: The Gravity Bar in the top floor, with 360-degree panoramic views of Dublin city.
Price of the ticket: Starting from €16, general admission is €20.
More information: guinness-storehouse.com
With attractions both in Dublin and in Cork, the famous Irish whiskey brand opened the doors of his old distillery to the tourists in 1997. After an engaging video that tells the story of Jameson Whiskey, visitors follow a friendly guide towards a series of rooms that showcase the process in which whiskey is distilled.
Then, they go to a tasting area where Jameson is served along with a popular Scotch and an American whiskey and the differences can be appreciated before visitors are offered a cocktail or a non alcoholic alternative.
Where is it: Bow Street, Smithfield, Dublin, Ireland [There’s also The Jameson Experience in Middleton, Cork]
Don’t miss: The wall with the transparent top whiskey barrels where you can see how ageing affects the spirit. Also, if you feel like splurging, for €100 you can bottle your own personalised bottle of Jameson Select Reserve Cask Strength Black Barrel.
Ticket Price: €16.
More information: www.jamesonwhiskey.com/ie/visit-us
Dublin’s only functional whiskey distillery is also a tourist attraction rapidly growing in popularity. Gabriel Corcoran, Marketing Director of Teeling Distillery mentions that the it’s the first new distillery in the city in over 125 years and in it “guests can engage with all aspects of the production process, taking in all the smells, sounds and sights of our production facility as well as a guided sampling of a range of our award winning whiskeys and cocktails in the ‘Bang Bang’ bar at the end of the tour.”
The distillery sits right in the heart of the Liberties, an area of historical importance for the Dublin whiskey production. “Our tour includes a history of Dublin and Irish Whiskey, the future of Irish Whiskey and the Teeling family’s place within it. The Teelings have roots in distilling right here in the Liberties stretching back to 1782, we invite guests to share in the revival of a craft intrinsic to our city and our family.”
Where is it: 13-17 Newmarket, Dublin 8. Ireland.
Don’t miss: The Bang Bang Bar, named after an infamous local character and featuring craft cocktails designed to highlight Teeling’s award-winning whiskeys.
Ticket Price: €14 to €30 (depending on the tasting selected).
More information: teelingdistillery.com
Stunning and sustainable architecture by award-winning designer Thomas Heatherwick frames an unforgettable experience that combines the history of one of the world’s most famous brands of gin with the opportunity to see the distilling process (the place is both a tourist attraction and a fully functional distillery) and let your senses interact with the ten different botanicals that go into the making.
There is a museum area and a “Gin Academy” for those that want to learn all about the history of Laverstoke Mill, gin and Bombay Sapphire as well as a bar in which the experience culminates. In there, you can get a cocktail customised to your taste in botanicals which you can enjoy alongside the river Test.
Where is it: Laverstoke Mill, London Road, Whitchurch RG28 7NR, United Kingdom.
Don’t miss: The two beautiful greenhouses, one for Mediterranean and one for tropical climate plants.
Ticket Price: £15.00 (self-discovery experience), £22.00 (hosted experience), £30.00 (gin cocktail masterclass).
More information: distillery.bombaysapphire.com
Recently opened, it’s already a popular attraction in Bordeaux. Its ambiguous and modern architecture doesn’t resemble any recognisable element, as it was built to evoke the “soul of wine”. Anouk Legendre and Nicolas Desmazières, architects from XTU describe the construction as ” ‘seamless roundness, intangible and sensual.”
Visitors are able to walk through 20 themed areas and exhibitions as well as participate in classes and tastings. A boat ride inspired in the travels of a merchant’s galley and a 3D multi-sensory tasting experience keeps the place feeling like a wine lovers’ magic kingdom. The top floor is a restaurant and wine shop named The Belvedere, where visitors are able to taste a wine (the selection is changed regularly) and enjoy 360° views of Bordeaux.
Where is it: 134 – 150 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux, France.
Don’t miss: The buffet of the five senses, one of the attractions featured on the permanent tour, in which visitors’ senses will be awaken and challenged as they discover the keys to tasting.
Ticket Price: €20.
More information: www.laciteduvin.com
Heineken’s first built brewery was built in Amsterdam’s city centre in 1864. After closing in 1988 (the company moved to a new facility for higher scale production) it reopened as a tourist attraction in 1991 and due to its success, it was renovated and enlarged in 2008.
Visitors can discover the history of the Heineken Company, as well as appreciate the ingredients that the beer is made of, see the brewing process, and enter the tasting room. At the end of the tour, visitors can enjoy two Heinekens or become a Draught Master on the rooftop bar with views of the city.
Where is it: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Don’t miss: The most serious beer enthusiasts will enjoy the museum area of the experience, with authentic architecture and the old brewery in place and historical images worth seeing. Looking for themed-parky fun? Then the “4D” movie about how beer is made is for you.
Ticket Price: €16 (online) or €18 (at the door). €49 for a VIP Tour.
More information: heineken.com/Heineken-Experience
Located in the Bavarian region, and with a name that translates as “Beer World” this place is a celebration of the history, craft and flavour of beer. It begins with a visit to the brewery, with a history that traces back to the XV century, followed by an entrance to a shop and exhibition area and then a visit to the 305 metres high Kuchlbauer Tower.
As visitors go up the tower, they can see the world’s largest collection of wheat beer glasses as they learn about German beer and the Bavarian Purity Law. Then they’re free to hang around the beer garden or have a meal at the Earth House.
Where is it: Römerstraße 5-9. 93326 Abensberg, Germany.
Don’t miss: The Kuchlbauer Tower, which was opened to the public in 2008 and was designed by famed Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser (but finished by his apprentice Peter Pelikan after Hundertwasser passed away). It is a beautiful and unusual building and a tourist attraction on its own merit.
Ticket Price: €18 (World of Beer guided tour + KunstHaus guided tour).
More information: www.kuchlbauer.de/en
A tour of the historic Jack Daniel Distillery, which is a working distillery and the oldest registered in the U.S. (1866), begins with a bus ride around the town square “to show guests the quaint shops and eateries they can visit after the tour”, explains Steve May, director of marketing operations. “The bus will enter the distillery grounds and pass by of one of our barrel houses, where we mature our whiskey.” Then guests can walk to the Rickyard, and learn about the charcoal used in the mellowing process that differentiates Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey from Bourbon.
The tour features several historical elements and a visit to the Barrelhouse where they can see how Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey is matured. “Our visitors learn about Jack Daniel the man, who was a real person, and about the reasons he built the distillery in Lynchburg when he was just a teenager”, adds Steve.
Where is it: 182 Lynchburg Highway, Lynchburg, Tennessee 37352. United States.
Don’t miss: Steve highlights the sampling tour, in which guests (that choose to do so) “will get to sample the local product before walking back to the Visitor Center, where they can buy a bottle and have it laser engraved with their name or a personal message.”
Ticket Price: Free general entry or $12 to include the tasting (only over 21’s).
More information: www.jackdaniels.com/visit
Gabriela’s passion for writing is only matched by her love for food and wine. Journalist, confectioner and sommelier, she fell in love with Ireland years ago and moved from Venezuela to Dublin in 2014.
Since then, she has written about and worked in the local food scene, and she’s determined to discover and share the different traditions, flavours and places that have led Irish food and drink to fascinate her.