Beefeater distillery to open as visitor attraction

Chivas Brothers has announced it is to go ahead with plans to open the home of Beefeater Gin to the public as a tourist attraction.

The site in Kennington, south London, will open later this year and, for the first time, will offer visitors a chance to see the gin being made and learn about the history of the spirit.

The distillery, which has been in the current building since 1958, has previously been open only for tours for special one-off events and trade visits. The building, formerly a pickle factory, was built in 1903, while Beefeater itself dates back to 1820.

Capitalising on the recent renaissance for gin in the UK capital, the new attraction will be named “Beefeater London – The Home of Gin”.

It will offer guests the opportunity to learn about the history of gin through a series of interactive showcases and see, touch and smell the botanicals used within the production process.

The experience will culminate in the chance to watch the live gin production process in the distillery’s cathedral-like still house.

Chivas Brothers, part of Pernod Ricard, has been considering opening up the distillery as an attraction for some years. Work will begin later this year to create the 600 sq m two-level tour. Pictured above is a computer-generated image of how it is expected to look from the outside.

Desmond Payne, master distiller for Beefeater Gin, said: “We have decided to push open the doors for the very first time and share some of those secrets with visitors to London, and locals, who are interested in seeing just how much expertise goes into making one of London’s most successful and famous brands.

“The Beefeater Gin Distillery is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. This is a magnificent opportunity to celebrate the heritage of gin in London, something that has been at the heart of the capital’s history for more than 300 years.”

In December last year, the small independently owned City of London Distillery was opened within a bar off Fleet Street in central London, producing gin and vodka including City of London Dry Gin. As part of its “Gin Experience”, visitors can see a microdistillery in action behind glass and take part in sessions on the history, production and tasting of gin.

Previous HMV sells G-A-Y stake back to founder
Next ScotHot 2013 preview