Beefeater Gin is one of the most well-known and popular gins of the world. Despite the destillation takes places in the heart of London, you rarely fine their Distillery Tour in travel guides. In mid May 2019, I gave it a try, inspired by some very good reviews on Tripadvisor and other platforms. Here is my review of the Beefeater Gin Distillery Tour.
Beefeater Distillery – Location & Tour Prices
The distillery is located in Kennington. The next Underground Stations are Oval (home of the cricket ground) and Kennington. Kennington is likely slightly closer. Both stations are serving the Northern Line only. There are some lovely cafes around when you walk from the station to the distillery.
The adult admission for the tour is 15 GBP. There is a chance to bring children over the age of eight, but they are of course not exposed to alcohol then.
Beefeater Distillery – The Tour
Your visit at the distillery roughly lasts 90 minutes. It is split into three parts. The first part is a self-guided tour through the Beefeater Museum, which tells you a lot about the history of gin and James Burrough, who invented the drink and the brand. Thereafter, your tour guide catches you to show you how gin is made. Of course, you end up with a gin and tonic.
Beefeater Distillery Museum
The museum is really nicely done. There are a lot of exhibits, which tell the history of gin. Gin was a popular alcohol for the lower-class people – which also lead to the risk that it was not been properly done and could lead to severe health damages. The museum also features a lot of interactive screens with videos and facts. One room deals with the rise of gin and cocktails in general. After there is a section about the Prohibition in the United States, the final section of this part of the tour is dedicated to the Beefeater company and their worldwide success.
Guided Beefeater Tour – Introduction
The guided tour starts with a selection of gin ingredients. By definition, gin must at least have 37.5% ABV and be predominantly be flavored by juniper. However, it must not be produced by distilling juniper itself, but other agricultural spirits. Beefeater uses highly concentrated alcohol for that. There are a lot of other natural flavors added. Some Beefeater blends even contain green tea aroma.
Thereafter, you can taste two different gins. The two editions were exclusive to tours and the souvenir shop until a couple of weeks before our visit. A rather soft gin and a very strong one illustrate the different possible interpretations of gin.
Guided Beefeater Tour – The Distillery
After this introduction, the tour continues to the production of Beefeater Gin. Less than ten people work here for the worldwide production. All stills are made of copper. There is even the original James Borough still, which is even nowadays in use – any kind of limited edition is made in this comparably small production item. The guide tells you a lot how the stills are used and how the distillers create the perfect blend. It was not that busy as we visited the site on a Saturday morning. Nevertheless, one distiller had to check the process at one of the production sites.
Beefeater Distillery – Shop
The tour begins and ends in the souvenir shop. My wife and I felt that the store is definitely a nice one. There are some shirts and even skirts, which you might like or not. But for Beefeater fans, you can buy some editions exclusive to this place. The pricing is rather reasonable. If you prefer to go for some typical souvenir like magnets, coasters or similar, I am quite sure you will find something to take home with you.
Beefeater Distillery – My View
Visiting a Factory Tour and similar places is always some sort of risk. Some are really good – some others (e.g. visiting World of Coca Cola in Atlanta) makes you leave with the feeling you just have made it into a huge marketing place. Visiting Beefeater is definitely a top notch factory tour. Even my wife, who is not that much into gin, absolutely enjoyed being there. It reminded me a bit of the Farina original Eau de Cologne museum. The museum is well done, many interactive displays and a lot of information (of course, also about the brand). The guided tour is great. It is cool to see the compact factory and even the original still being in use. It is not too far away from Waterloo and other London Underground stops. I feel you should definitely dare this trip. It is an absolute Top Pick! to me.
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