Plymouth Gin Distillery
- Café and/or Restaurant
- Public Transport within 5 miles
In addition to the following, group tours can also be arranged at other times.
Plymouth Gin Distillery Tour
This 40-minute tour offers a brief history of the distillery along with an introduction into the art of distilling gin and the role of the different botanicals, finishing with either a G&T in The Refectory bar or a miniature to take away.
Mon-Sat: on the half-hour, 10.30am-4.30pm
Sun: on the half-hour, 11.30-4.30pm
Gin Connoisseurs' Tour
As well as the distillery tour and G&T in The Refectory, visitors are given a tutored comparative tasting of a variety of gins.
Booking is essential, particularly during the summer season.
Master Distiller's Private Tour
In addition to the distillery tour, comparative tasting and G&T in The Refectory, visitors distil their very own gin following a masterclass about botanicals.
4.30pm; consult distillery for dates; booking in advance is essential.
The Refectory runs cocktail courses as well as accredited bartending courses.
A members only venue, please contact the staff about temporary & full-time membership.
Distillery Tour: £6
Gin Connoisseurs' Tour: £15
Master Distiller's Tour: £40
Get in Touch
Tel: 01752 665 292
"There is a lot of science there, but as soon as it hits the spirit still, there's a bucketful of art." So says Master Distiller Sean Harrison and, as the current curator of the 200-year old recipe for Plymouth Gin, he should know.
Founded in 1793, its home is not only apparently haunted, but its fabulous lounge bar, The Refectory, is apparently where the Pilgrim Father's spent their last night before embarking from the docks a few hundred yards away. Indeed, nautical matters are irrevocably intertwined with Plymouth Gin, from the depiction of the Mayflower on the bottle to its perennial popularity with the Royal Navy and hence its dispersal around the globe. Visitors to this, the only UK gin distillery open to the public all year, hear all this and more in what amounts to a cultural as well as a taste tour de force.
You takes your choices…
Wander through the historic quarter to the whitewashed Blackfriars Distillery and choose between one of three tours. If time and budgets allow, opt for the Connoisseurs tour or the Master Distillers Tour. Both allow you access to the inner sanctum, almost an underground Gin Palace, where Sean keeps what seems like every gin produced anywhere in the globe. Let him or one of the team guide you through a taste test of key botanicals before you taste Plymouth and a range of other gins.
But for those who love their gin, the Master Distillers Tour has to be the ultimate prize. Following your comparative tasting, it's into a room that resembles a modern chemistry lab, except that what's on the syllabus today is choosing your own mix of botanicals and distilling your own batch of gin. The pressure's on: how will it taste? Sean is polite about my attempt. "Not bad," he says, but you can tell he's not feeling threatened job-wise.
Shaken & stirred
As with the other tours, you'll finish in the wonderfully-vaulted bar, The Refectory, for a G&T. With this bar being the focus of mixology culture in Plymouth, and the gin's top-dollar reputation in classy cocktails, it seems worth taking advantage of the skill and craft of the friendly bar guys. And if this gets you inspired, check out the fun Gin & Tales website for creations to make at home.
My advice? Make a weekend of it. Contact the local tourist office – just down the road – and either book into one of the many B&B's just up the hill, or stay in a local village and bus/train in. Finally, leave time to try the contemporary cooking on offer at the Barbican Kitchen, the second venture from the brothers behind former AA Restaurant of the Year, Tanners, Chris and James.
- Best G&T – Chairman's Trophy, Ultimate Cocktail Challenge 2010, New York
- Gold, Spirits Business Gin Masters 2010
- Waste from the stills goes to an anaerobic digester to become biogas
- The berries for the sloe gin go off to local farmers as fertiliser
- The distillery has planted its own herb garden to supply the bar with its necessary greenery
Plymouth Gin supports Plymouth City Safe, the Theatre Royal and other local events