If you’re looking for a unique experience, why not visit an Aussie craft distillery? But before you go, here are our 5 tips to visiting a distillery so you get the most out of your time there.
Australia is home to some of the world’s best craft distilleries, and visiting one is a great way to learn about the the spirits the distillery makes and see the process first hand. Not to mention sampling some of what’s made there!
If you’ve visited a winery or brewery before, you might see a few familiar faces.
Hoses, barrels and big steel tanks are ubiquitous, but the beautiful copper still, where the real magic happens, is unique to distilling.
As you’d expect, we’ve been to quite a few distilleries over the years. But no matter how we go to or many times a distiller describes the process to us, we still find the process fascinating.
Here are our five essential tips for visiting an Aussie craft distillery:
1. Research the distillery first and find out what spirits they make
This is as much managing your own expectations as anything. You don’t want to turn up with loads of whisky questions when you’re actually visiting a gin distillery!
It also shows the distiller you’re genuinely interested in their product and brand, which is only going to make your time at the distillery better.
2. Check if they have a cellar door and see if you can do a private tour
Not all distilleries have a cellar door or have their stills on show.
Some are magnificent show-stoppers like Timboon in VIC, Starward in VIC or Corowa in NSW. Archie Rose have even turned their original setup into a tourist attraction, right next door to their awesome bar in Rosebery in Sydney.
Other distilleries keep things even more low-key, and while private tours might be available, they’re not always open to the public. And to be honest, these are often the ones we like to visit more!
3. Wear closed shoes
It might sound silly, but having closed shoes rather than sandals or flipflops will really cheer up your distiller or tour guide. You have to remember these are still working distilleries, and often you’re only allowed in with steel-toe boots.
4. Eat before you arrive, and please have a designated driver
Of course, visiting a distillery doesn’t mean you have to drink any of the spirits made there. But—let’s be realistic here—a tasting is a major draw card, right?
Make sure you arrive with a full belly, especially if you’ve followed these tips and the distiller likes you. You might get a taste of some barrel-strength spirits.
Obviously, if you’re intending to sample some of the goods, make sure you can get home safely. Whether it’s a deso driver, a lift or a taxi, please remember to organise transport beforehand.
5. Go with an open mind
Every distillery does something a little differently to the next, so even if you’ve visited a hundred distilleries before, there’s always something new to learn.
What if you don’t like spirits? Well, ask a gin distiller and they’ll tell you there’s a gin for everyone. So be prepared to give new things a try.
Bonus: be respectful!
Remember that distilling is a labour of love. Every bottle you see and every spirit you taste has been touched by the distiller so many times, and years have gone into producing when you’re about to try.
There’s nothing wrong with being honest, but there’s also nothing wrong with being polite either.
If you want to know how to avoid upsetting a distiller (and how to make their day) check out these hot tips from Karu distiller Ally Ayres on the topic.