Craft distilleries are popping up across North America, offering a local twist on classic spirits. But don’t overlook some of the more iconic brands—many offer exciting tours, often steeped in history. Here are a few to add to your travel plans (hover over the image below for more information).
Photo by Jared Sych
The lowdown: This interactive tour covers not only the story of Beefeater, but also the history of gin. Visitors can get a look at the distilling process, then visit the botanical room to get hands-on with the ingredients used in gin production. After, sample a classic gin and tonic in the Gallery Bar.
Highlight: The distillery is housed in an architecturally stunning Edwardian building that features original artifacts like a Victorian pot still.
The Baileys Farm at The Orchard Centre
The lowdown: For something a little different, head to the Baileys Farm at The Orchard Centre, where the milk used in Baileys Irish Cream is produced. Tour the facilities, see the cows that produce more than 1.1 million litres of milk annually for the liqueur and take part in a tasting workshop.
Highlight: Workshop participants are treated to a lively demonstration of how this famous Irish liqueur is made and can sample some of the different flavours.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The lowdown: Three tours are offered daily, and all explore the history of Bacardi, retracing its evolution from small rum producer to iconic brand. Each tour also includes a commemorative cup, a welcome cocktail and a brochure of recipes. Take the Mixology Tour to learn how to make three classic rum cocktails, or the Rum Tasting Tour for a formal tasting.
Highlight: There are sweet views of beautiful Old San Juan from the distillery.
Canadian Club Brand Heritage Center
The lowdown: Explore the history of Canada’s best-known whisky on a tour through the 122-year-old Heritage Center. Stops include a visit to the Speakeasy room—where secret meetings were once held with notorious bootleggers—and Hiram Walker’s personal sampling room, which is decorated with his personal collection of Canadian art.
Highlight: Visitors get to take part in a formal whisky-tasting at the end of the tour.
Jose Cuervo Tequila
The lowdown: Board the Jose Cuervo Express from Guadalajara and travel two hours to the town of Tequila to visit La Rojeña. One of the oldest distilleries in the Americas, it has been producing tequila for more than 250 years. Tours cover the entire production process, from cooking the agave to the distillation rooms.
Highlight: Extended tours offer unique experiences like a visit to the agave fields and food pairings.