A vast range of activities are on hand for groups looking to sample some favourite tipples at their leisure. Amy Moore details a generous selection of appealing attractions within the UK and beyond.
Carefully crafted since 1780, the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin is a destination steeped in local history and heritage, voted one of the top attractions in the area on TripAdvisor. Having been established by a man of the same name, its bottle is now characteristic with deep greens and velvet burgundy’s stamped with the archaic crest, associating a rather regal feel to the brand. An insight into the three tier distillation system has been routinely set in place for groups, offering those the opportunity to stand witness to the old kilns previously used to manufacture, as well as the iconic water wheels and antique warehouse. Visitors will be taken on an expert led route accompanied by unforgettable architectural scenery. Each tour lasts a little over an hour and includes complementary refreshment, with an additional invitation to sample whisky tasting. Reduced group rates are convenient for parties of 15 or more. Why not stop off at the attractive Jameson Bar on your way out? Serving a delectable choice of blended coffees and cocktails, some complemented with ginger and lime; guaranteed to be any regular’s drink of choice. For smaller groups, the Clann Day Out package provides a guided tour, whisky tasting and a two course liquid luncheon at the venue’s deluxe Malt House Restaurant. For larger groups specifically, the ‘Shindig’ package boasts much of the same, with live Irish entertainment thrown in for good measure.
York Brewery first opened its doors to the public in May 1996 and has since remained pivotal in producing top quality ale, brewing within the city walls after a 40 years absence. York is indeed naturally renowned for its localised heritage, with the venue set mere minutes from the historical entrance to the city. That’s a reason to visit in itself, with a site that dates back to the late 16th century. Once inside, guests are welcomed by an astounding 20 barrel brewing plant, six open top fermenters and five conditioning tanks. A heightened viewing platform has been tailored to guided tours primarily; offering a voyeuristic view of the main fermenting room. Such beers brewed include York Minster Ale, Guzzle bottled beers and the classic Nordic Fury, accompanied with floral taste. Tailored tours are a highlight for any group visiting, as guests are welcomed into the authentic taproom bar to enjoy a drink at their leisure. Each tour lasts approximately 40 minutes in total, routinely operated on a rotary basis of four times a day. Tours are not recommended for those with limited access due to stairs en route. For corporate groups specifically, meeting rooms dominated by Victorian style bay windows are conveniently located within the city centre, comfortably accommodating 2-30 people at a time. All packages can be tailored to group requirements, with those attending receiving a whopping 50% off brewery tours.
One of England’s best known vineyards, the Three Choirs Vineyard boasts a sublime setting within the idyllic Cotswold countryside; housing a number of wines, ales and ciders. Established in 2003, Whittington’s Brewery is located within the spacious estate, which has been aptly named after the well-travelled Dick Whittington. This extended passion is reflected in inspirational quotes dotted throughout the venue’s website. A visit would not be complete without a standing in the impressive five barrelled brewing plant; making use of the mash tun method formulated to produce the ever popular beer brand. A detailed emphasis is placed on naturally sourced and local ingredients throughout, with the business promoting a strong association with The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), which strives to consistently improve the quality of produce. Wine created on the premises is available to purchase; accompanied by special discounts for bulk orders. British cuisine is served at the in- house restaurant or for an alternative fine dining experience, groups can settle for a dainty wine and cheese affair. For meat lovers, a hearty BBQ is hosted on the terrace of the Vine Room, with the deluxe restaurant featuring a special set menu on a Sunday. Parties of up to 25 are well catered for with a 4 or 5 course meal should it be arranged. In the winter months, packages come inclusive of a two hour cookery demonstration followed by wine tasting and tour. A hotel and guest lodge on-site is available to book should a longer break be desired.
FOCUS ON: THE FAMOUS GROUSE EXPERIENCE
Recently awarded a Certificate of Excellence, The Famous Grouse Experience remains on record as a renowned 5 star attraction which offers a unique taste of Scotland. Established in 1775, each tour is hosted at Scotland’s oldest distillery to date, with the venue denoting a suitably rustic charm that is both characteristic and quirky in nature. A vast improvement has been made to the venue’s group facilities, as guests can behold a magnificent blending mechanism, which uncannily mimics the bottle neck of the branded whisky. The recognisable ‘grouse’ mascot has been dotted throughout, keeping visitors on their toes. Other highlights include having a picture taken with the largest whisky bottle to ever be produced. Of course, a seasonal favour will be available to purchase upon departure, with an additional option to add a personalised message, the perfect souvenir or gift. Home to one of the country’s favourite Scottish blended whiskies, the ever popular venue is said to welcome an average of 120,000 visitors per year with its modernised art deco appeal. It is no doubt a growing hot spot for groups, with dramatic refurbishments made to its café and bar area, as well as its welcome lounge, where visitors can simply stroll in and book a tour. A new tasting bar has been opened, allowing visitors a closer view of the whisky blending process. The Famous Grouse Suite sets out to comfortably accommodate group businesses.
Family run since 1984, the Denbies Wine Estate proposes a collective charm, with a vineyard that dates back a little less than 30 years. Situated amidst the splendid Surrey hills, guests are amply welcomed by an abundance of woodland walks and trails surrounding the plot. The spacious estate inhabits 627 acres in total, with a dedicated planting plot comprised of 265 acres of chalky soil renowned for its past agricultural accreditations. The Surrey Hills Brewery welcomes those who find themselves in the area to enjoy a good old fashioned brew, perhaps before embarking on one of the three tours available. Located at the tail end of the estate, new purpose built equipment aims to provide the highest quality standard beverage. The attraction is easily accessible by car, train, bus and bike for the more adventurous, with flexible opening hours dependent on the changing seasons. Indoor and outdoor tours are available to book, with group discounts on a select number of wine tasting experiences. Why not hop aboard the authentic outdoor train? Estimated to provide a round trip of 50 minutes with reduced rates on groups of 10 or more. Stop off at The Gallery Restaurant for a stunning panoramic view of the vineyard and beyond, with group reservations catering for parties of 10 or more. Bringing nature indoors, The Conservatory Restaurant invites a unique dining experience seated amidst tropical plantations and a super water feature with exotic fish display. Additional group booking information is available to view on the venue’s website.
Wadworth Brewery is located in the heart of the thriving market town of Devizes, the most central town in Wiltshire. Established in 1875, this independent family owned brewery is steeped in history, heritage and traditional skills, as well as a wide collection of carefully hand crafted ales. With an on-site sample bar, brewery shop and visitor centre, there’s certainly much more to Wadworth than meets the eye. A visit to see the brewery’s award winning working shire horses, which are responsible for delivering ales across town each week day, is highly recommended. Scheduled tours are available daily at 1100 and 1400hrs, catering for up to 60 people, with prices starting from £6.00 per person. Brewery Tours include a visit to the main production areas, the on-site Sign Studio – where guests can gaze at unique hand painted pub signs, followed by a visit to the stables. The tours then finish with a tutored beer sampling session. The brewery offers complimentary places for the group organiser and coach driver, with refreshments included. Coach parking is also available free of charge on site with prior arrangement. The visitor centre is an ideal rest stop for any group party, with refreshments and Wadworth’s famous 6X beer fruit cake available Monday to Saturday from 1000- 1700hrs. The visitor centre is free to enter and is home to a well stocked gift shop, bar and self guided exhibition, taking visitors from 1875 through to the present day.
Groups can go behind the scenes and discover how Westons Cider is made at Westons Cider Mill. Westons Cider has been produced in the Herefordshire village of Much Marcle for over 130 years. The attraction’s experienced tour guides will take groups behind the scenes and through the heart of this thriving cider mill. Hear how cider is produced from the orchard to the bottle. After the Tour there is an opportunity to sample some of the ciders and perries and purchase some cider to take home. There is a restaurant and a tea room on site and visitors can incorporate lunch, a cream tea or a ploughman’s lunch with a tour, using one of the mill’s tour packages. The shop, tea room and restaurant are all set in a beautifully restored 17th century courtyard based around the Henry Weston garden.