Distillery Tour Etiquette – Do’s and Don’ts
You need not be a connoisseur of liquors to embark on a distillery tour because even those who are uninitiated to the drinks or teetotalers would find the excursion quite interesting. Those who want to venture into the less treaded patch when organizing short tours would find distillery tours quite exciting as it is a surefire way to lift your spirits. (Images Credit: Pixabay)
When you browse social media, you will see tons of information and photos of such tours that set the platforms abuzz. Choosing a distillery from the long list of American craft distillers might sometimes seem quite daunting, but given that you can pick anyone to kick off the tour, the task should not be difficult. Especially if you are in Colorado, you can explore any of the 90 distilleries, 140 wineries, and more than 400 breweries and still counting.
The growth of the distilleries and breweries across the United States is simply fantastic and the day is not far when there will be a distillery on every corner. The craft-booze industry has become a significant employment resource as more and more Americans are finding job-fulfillment in this sector.
If you are looking for a purpose to plan a visit to a distillery, then you should find many reasons for it. Firstly, if you like tasting, it is an invitation for free tastings. Secondly, you get the opportunity to rub elbows with knowledgeable and friendly craftspeople and thirdly, you come to know about the processes to understand the creative science and craft thoroughly behind the beverages.
Whether you are planning a visit to some large distillery or a craft distillery or micro distillery in your vicinity, you must know about the etiquette and manners expected of a visitor. Keeping the following tips in mind should help to get the most from the visit.
Do not expect special treatment by dropping names
To start the tour on a happy note ensure that you make yourself acceptable to the staff of the distillery, especially if it is a craft distillery that employs fewer people. Bonding with them in a friendly manner without an air should be your primary intention. And to make it happen, you must avoid bragging about your closeness to the owner by dropping names because it is a sure way of agonizing the staff who might feel belittled.
Far from expecting a private tour, be ready to accept the treatment meted out to all and sundry visitors and try to develop a cordial relationship with the staff that makes the tour enjoyable. If you are not alone, go with a small group that does not create distractions and just fits into the tasting bar.
Avoid touching the equipment
If you do not have shining trophies that adore the showcase of your drawing room, then the sight of rows of shining copper stills could be just so much luring that you would like to feel it with your hands. Remember that you must only visualize its beauty without ever trying to lay your hands on it no matter how tempting it might be. The tour takes visitors around working stills that are too hot, and the tour guide will not forget to caution you not to try to hug it. The same applies to the fermenting tanks of mash that you must never try to dip a finger into it.
Come with an open mind
It is important that you shed all previous bad experiences that you might have had in your life when tasting some spirit or liquor that has left a bad taste in your mouth. Keep in mind that our palates go through constant changes with time and you must not hesitate to taste even the same spirit that had left not so pleasing experience in your mind as it could be surprisingly good this time. Having an open mind ensures that you do not miss out on anything during the tour that you might regret later. You must know that lots of passion and love go into the making of liquor and going by the suggestion of staff after shedding all preconceived notions should help to get the best experience.
It’s tasting and not a drinking session
When going to that tasting room keep in mind that courtesy demands that you take just a sip of the spirit instead of trying to gulp filled glasses. Just imagine as if you are a taster and tasked with tasting a single-malt whiskey. The session is meant to make you have some fun, and the best way to enjoy it is to focus on the taste of whiskey and not the quantity. After all, it is just a way of adding some more enjoyment to the tour that you must not confuse with spending time at a watering hole.
Do not forget that the host expects polite behavior from you and to make the tour a success you must live up to their expectations. Be true to yourself in deciding which spirits you like and some others which you don’t like because it is natural that all spirits will not be to your liking. However, make sure that you refrain from being discourteous in expressing your dislike by being too loud about it. Instead, politely decline the drink saying it does not appear to be your cup of tea.
Avoid haggling with price
The prices of drinks are set with some good thinking that takes care of various aspects of quality and craftsmanship, and it is the same whether you go to a craft distillery or a large one. Even if you think that the price is too much, accept it with a smile because it shows that you respect the process and price. Just as you would never think of bargaining by looking at the menu at a restaurant, have the same kind of mindset when you want to take a few bottles as a memento.
Lastly, be inquisitive but never try to hog the limelight by monopolizing the guide’s tour time.