Glasgow now has an amazing selection of drinks experiences, here are some of the best for you to enjoy next time you visit the city.

While it’s indisputable that Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city, Glasgow could easily make the case for being its capital for food and drink.

With the rise in popular bars, clubs and eateries over recent years, anyone visiting the city is now spoiled for choice.

When it comes to drink, the city has re-invigorated its image, moving away from drinking being consigned to ‘old man’ pubs and opening the category up to a whole new range of people with a variety of different experiences.

From breweries to cocktails, distilleries to gins, here are some of the city’s best drinks experiences.

BEER

Glasgow has no less than four city centre breweries and several more micro-breweries on its outskirts. Each of these offer something different and should be enjoyed on their own merits.

Wellpark Brewery

(161 Duke St, Glasgow G31 1JD, www.tennents.com/tour/)

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The home of one of Glasgow’s most famous exports, Tennent’s Lager, has gone through something of a transformation over recent years, though it’s still the hard-working brewery that it’s been for the past 450 years, the (very Glaswegian) cheeky swagger with which it operates both in marketing, and its production, has been brought to the fore making it a fun place to visit and learn a little more about what goes on behind the doors of one of Glasgow’s most famous brand.

The new £1 million visitor centre recently opened its doors and features new and archived artwork as well as Tennent’s artefacts from the past century and a half of brewing.

• READ MORE: 8 things you (probably) didn’t know about Tennent’s Lager

Motion capture animations developed by Glasgow School of Art and others also provide a visualised history tour, taking guests back to the origins of brewing at Wellpark, to present day and the brand’s support for Scottish music and football.

You’ll also get to see a rare collection of vintage and retro Tennent’s packaging, as well as getting a chance to watch your favourite Tennent’s adverts from over the decades and also a shop to buy exclusive Tennent’s goodies.

Tour Times: Mon – Sat:  11am, 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, 6pm Sun: 12 noon, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm

Pricing: Adult – £12.50 per person, students/concessions – £9 (valid photo ID required), family of 4 – £30 (based 2 adults and 2 children aged 12-18 years).

Drygate Brewery

(85 Drygate, Glasgow G4 0UT, drygate.com)

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Once you’ve enjoyed the Wellpark Brewery tour next door, or simply want to try something a little more craft beer focused then Drygate is definitely the place for you.

Offering a delightful menu of great food and even better beer, the micro-brewery has a beer garden for summer months, a bottle shop and an event space for comedy, music and club nights.

It’s the brewery itself that’s the star of the show and their tour lets you see how this excellent little brewery has become the rising star of the Glasgow drinks scene.

Best of all, should you be an aspiring brewer yourself, Drygate offer brew your own beer days, giving you the chance to try out a truly hands-on drink experience.

Tour Times: Sundays at 1pm, 3pm & 5pm (no advance booking required, so just pop in before the tour & they’ll take care of the rest).

If Sundays don’t work, you can still visit and see their production brewery in action with their ‘Through the Glass’ brewery experience. You’ll be given a guided tasting of their four core beers and guided through the history of the brewery, processes & ingredients while sampling the finished product.

Pricing: £10 per person

Should you want to Brew Your Own you and a few of your friends can join the brewery staff in a tutored day session making your own beer.

For a single 50l Brew for up-to three people – £225 (95 x 500ml bottles)

For a 100l Brew with up-to six people – £430 (190 x 500ml bottles)

West Brewery

(Templeton Building, Glasgow Green, Glasgow, G40 1AW, www.westbeer.com)

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Go continental with the excellent West Brewery, another brewpub which lies (confusingly given its name) on the east side of the city.

West is housed in the awesome looking Templeton building, a former carpet factory, which was supposedly modelled on the Doge’s Palace in Venice, and offers a German influenced take on Scottish brewing.

Grab yourself a beer or two in the excellent beer garden before heading inside to check out the tour, with guides walking you through the on-site brewery, discussing their history and purity law based brewing technique, before finishing up with a tutored tasting session of a selection of WEST beers.

Tour Times: Friday at 6pm, Saturday at 12pm and 3pm, Sunday at 3pm.

Price: £11.50 per person (advanced booking recommended).

Ticket includes: Tour, Tasting session and any pint of WEST beer for just £3

Shilling Brewing Co. 

(92 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 1PJ, www.shillingbrewingcompany.co.uk)

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Slightly closer to the centre of town and more accessible than the other breweries on this list, Shilling Brew Co. is a relative newcomer but it’s already gaining popularity with the city’s beer fans.

Try a beer named after Scotland’s national animal, the Unicorn, or indulge in some delicious pizza made on site – created using a mix of baker’s and brewer’s yeast – before checking out their excellent tour.

Beginning with a run down of the brewery’s focus on the art and science behind the craft including the ingredients, their equipment (particularly the conditioning casks) and the joys of the tasting room, before finishing with a flight of SBCo’s beers and a relaxed Q & A.

Tour Times: Mon to Wednesday (book in advance)

Prices: £20 per person.

WHISKY

Though Glasgow can only look on envy at the sheer number of distilleries that surround Scotland’s highland cities, the area has just gained two new whisky production sites (with more on the way) and has two other well established options close by.

Auchentoshan

(Dalmuir, Clydebank G81 4SJ, www.auchentoshan.com)

Mike Keillor, Chief Exec of Morrison Bowmore (Whisky Co.) in Auchentson

Head along Great Western Road to Clydebank, either by taxi, bus or train (don’t drive or you’ll miss out on some delightful whiskies) to Auchentoshan, one of the gems of the lowland region.

Auchentoshan is a great little distillery to visit and produces some of the country’s lightest whiskies.

On the tour, you’ll get to take in the whole process of making their whisky, including a look at that fascinating triple distillation process. You’ll also be given the chance to sample some of Auchentoshan’s own range of whiskies.

Tours: The distilled different tour– 60 min tour with one whisky sample and a serving of Auchentoshan and Ale – Price: £10 per person. 10am, 12 noon, 1pm and 3pm 7 days a week.

Auchentoshan experience – 90 min tour with 4 Auchentoshan whiskies – Price: £35 per person

Ultimate Auchentoshan experience – 135 min tour with a master class and a chance to sample whisky straight from the cask, You’ll also receive a master class in 3 of their core range whiskies, and sample 2 of their archive whiskies, exclusive to Auchentoshan Distillery, in their Blender’s Room. – Price: £55 per person

Glengoyne

(Dumgoyne, Killearn, Glasgow G63 9LB, www.glengoyne.com)

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Should you wish to try a highland whisky then you can find one just north of the city, Glengoyne distillery is easily accessible from the city centre (best to jump on The no.10 bus destination Balfron which departs from Buchanan Bus Station) and is a great example of what a small highland distillery is capable of.

The beautiful white washed buildings, complete with pagoda roof, nestled into the foot of the Dumgoyne hill can be quite a welcoming sight.

Tours: Glengoyne tour – 45 min tour with one whisky sample – Price: £11.50 per person

Wee Tasting Tour – 90 min tour with a dram of Glengoyne 18 Year Old – Price: £14.50 per person

The whisky and Chocolate tour – as delightful as it sounds, a 90 min tour with two special drams, each matched to two handmade chocolates – Price: £25 per person

The Malt Master Tour – A highly unique 105 min tour with a master class and a chance to sample cask strength and unfiltered whiskies and create your own single malt Glengoyne whisky, before being given 200ml bottle of your creation. – Price: £75 per person

The Clydeside Distillery

(100 Stobcross Rd, Glasgow G3 8QQ)

Glasgow’s newest whisky distillery sits proudly on the banks of the Clyde and is only a short walk from the city centre along the river.

Housed within an old pump house, this idyllic distillery with an interactive whisky experience, whisky shop and an excellent café.

Tours: The Clydeside Tour – a one hour tour with three drams – Price: £15 per person

The Chocolate and Whisky Tour – a one and a half hour tour with 5 drams matched with artisan chocolate handcrafted by the renowned Scottish chocolatier, Sugar Wings of Glasgow – Price: £28 per person

The Distillery Tour Manager – an exclusive tour with distillery manager Alistair McDonald with a special tasting. – Price: £120 per person

The Clydeside Distillery Chocalate and Whisky Tour. Picture: Clydeside

The Potstill

(154 Hope St, Glasgow G2 2TH, www.facebook.com/ThePotStillGlasgow)

Picture: Trip Advisor

Of course, you don’t have to leave town to sample the wonders of Scotch, simply take a stroll from either of the two major train stations and find yourself at the world famous Potstill on Hope Street.

With over 700 whiskies and highly knowledgeable staff you’ll find yourself whiling away the hours chatting about whisky and enjoying more than a few drams. Be warned though it gets busy on weekend nights which may mean the staff have less time to chat.

You’ll find yourself rubbing shoulders with other tourists, locals, students and out-of-towners as the pub is popular with a whole spectrum of characters.

You can also arrange custom tastings if you book in advance for any budget and best of all it’s 35ml measures meaning you get more whisky for you money.

The Bon Accord

(153 North St, Glasgow G3 7DA, www.bonaccordpub.com)

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The Potstill’s partner in whisky excellence and another shining example of the city’s hospitality can be found on North Street. The award-winning Bon Accord is the place to go to enjoy a great meal and another amazing range of whiskies. Seriously, it’s hard not to stand with your mouth agape when you see both of these pub’s collections.

Select a whisky from the pub’s handy tablets which display the 400 or so bottles from the gantry  or indulge in a ‘hawf and hawf’ by pairing your dram with one of the pub’s excellent range of real ales and sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.

Whisky and beer tastings can be arranged in advance and customised to suit your needs.

GIN

Scotland’s fastest growing spirit is gaining as much popularity as its older rival whisky and a great selection can now be found in many of the city’s bars.

Gin 71

(71 Renfield St, Glasgow G2 1LP, www.gin71.com)

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Glasgow’s first dedicated gin bar, and a place for juniper fans to truly spoil themselves, the always busy Gin 71 is set in opulent surroundings and offers a veritable wall of gin.

Over 70 artisan gins to be exact, and coupled with the fact that the menus have been created to help you choose the right tonic and garnish, and the expert staff are also on hand to offer recommendations or discuss the cocktail range, you’ll always be able to find the gin you’re looking for.

The group behind the bar also offer a range of tailored and themed tastings through the year that are great fun and well worth the £25 fee.

Alston Bar and Beef 

(Glasgow Central Station, Central Station, 79 Gordon St, Glasgow G1 3SQ)

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Picture: Alston Bar & Beef

If you desire a little more in depth ginformation (we apologise that was a terrible pun) Alston Bar & Beef – an excellent steak joint too – which is hidden away in Glasgow Central Station, offers a cracking masterclass that will teach you everything you need to know about Mother’s Ruin (including why it was giving that less than attractive moniker in the first place).

You’ll be greeted with a gin cocktail of your choice on arrival and will taste six gins over the course of the hour.

Masterclass times: Book in advance.

Price: £30 per person (for an extra £20 they will add a three course meal too).

Crossbill Hatchery Gin School 

(54 Calton Entry, Glasgow G40 2SB)

Picture: Crossbill Gin School

Head to Glasgow’s very own gin school to learn how to distill your own gin with Crossbill Gin’s distiller and founder, Jonathan Engels, where you will pick your botanicals and make your own juniper spirit in a miniature copper pot still.

Experience: 3 hour Gin masterclass including complimentary tutored tasting and instruction and talk from Crossbill founder Jonathan Engel – Price: £120

Eden Mill Blendworks

(Princes Square, 48 Buchanan St, Glasgow G1 3JN)

Popular Scottish gin and whisky distiller Eden Mill recently opened its first retail outlet outside St Andrews in Glasgow’s Princes Square and it’s the perfect place to learn about the gin making process and taking a myriad of flavours to create your own.

Experience: Exciting two hour experience where you learn about and create your own gin  Price: £65 per person

Makar Gin

Should you wish to take a little bit of Glasgow’s gin experience home with you, then the Glasgow Distillery Company’s Makar gin (priced at around £36 per bottle) might just be the answer.

Made using seven botanicals – lemon peel, black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cassia bark, rosemary, angelica root and liquorice – which are added to compliment the Juniper,  Makar is a classic refreshing gin as enjoyable neat as it is in tonic.

RUM

Wester Spirit Distillery 

(Unit 2, Meadow Road Industrial Estate, Glasgow, G11 6HX)

Believe it or not, Glasgow now has its very own rum distillery.

The first rum distillery to operate in the city in over 300 years, Wester Spirit Distillery is located in the hive of Partick.

• READ MORE: Wester Spirit Co. announce launch of Glasgow’s first rum distillery in over 300 years

The recently opened Meadow Road Distillery will show you how they produce their spiced rum before allowing you to enjoy a complimentary sample and cocktail masterclass.

Tour: Tours run on Saturdays and Sundays at 12:00pm, 1:30pm and 3:00pm, teaching you all about the rum making process. Price: £15.00

COCKTAILS

Finnieston is the place to head to should you be looking to try some of the best cocktails the city has to offer. From the stripped back stylings of the Kelvingrove Café, to the cool as a cucumber (garnish) cocktail menu at the Finnieston will leave you spoiled for choice.

Closer to town, the now famous jazz bar that is Blue Dog, has just been voted an I-on magazine’s reader’s favourite and you can’t go wrong with the Blytheswood Hotel’s Salon Bar or for something just that little bit different, then Bath Street’s Tiki Bar‘s themed cocktails – made with great skill – will have you happier than a holidaymaker in Hawai.

And of course, no cocktail fan’s visit to Glasgow would be complete without a visit to the Rogano, which has been serving Glasgow cocktails since mixed drinks first came into fashion.

October

( Princes Square Shopping Centre, Glasgow G1 3JN, octoberglasgow.co.uk)

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Picture: October

October is a classy little cocktail bar situated on the top floor of Prince’s Square shopping plaza on Buchanan Street. Offering no less than three masterclasses you’re sure to be unleashing your inner Tom Cruise in no time.

Perfect for the novice, you’ll learn the basics of mixology and enjoy a fun night out.

Masterclasses:

The sharing masterclass: Learn not one but two classic signature October cocktails and have a third cocktail served with your meal.

Price: £25 per person

The classic masterclass: 3 cocktails, 2 courses from their market menu & glass of Prosecco on arrival

Price: £35 per person

The indulgence masterclass: 3 cocktails, 3 courses from their market menu & glass of Prosecco on arrival

Price: £40 per person

Hillhead Book Club

(17 Vinicombe St, Glasgow G12 8SJ, hillheadbookclub.co.uk)

Glasgow's best whisky gin and craft beer experiences

Picture: Visit Scotland

For something a little more relaxed, then head to the west end and the wonderfully quirky Hillhead Book Club, a former cinema, the Book Club has made a name for itself as one of the cooler places to hang out in the city.

Offering a two-hour masterclass with prosecco included, the Bookclub will let you create two cocktails from their selected menu.

Masterclass: a glass of prosecco while you learn about the cocktails then a chance to make two cocktails yourself. 

Price per person: £20

The Good Spirits Company

(23 Bath St, Glasgow G2 1HW, www.thegoodspiritsco.com)

Glasgow's best whisky gin and craft beer experiences

With access to a massive range of spirits, wines and beers from not just Scotland and the UK but across the globe, the Good Spirits Company is the best place to head should you be looking to take home some whisky, gin or any other type of drink for that matter.

They also have visits from more experts than an argument against Brexit, meaning they offer tutored tastings, themed talks and demonstrations over a wide range of drinks on a regular basis.

On the last Saturday of every month they run The Good Cocktail Club which is a no-nonsense exercise in great drinks and even better tutelage.

Be warned though it’s very popular so it’s worth buying tickets in advance.

Masterclass: The Good Cocktail Club: A demonstration showing the making of three fine cocktails, and you get to taste the results, along with four of their ingredients.

Price per person: Tickets £30 in advance

WHERE TO BUY

There are several amazing places to go in Glasgow should you be wanting to take home some bottles of gin, whisky or beer to show off to your friends or to enjoy with your favourite people.

The aforementioned Good Spirits Co is probably at the head of the curve with the original store on Bath Street and the west end store on Clarence Drive offer  a massive range of spirits at great prices, and their beer store on West Nile Street is probably one of the best places to go for craft beers and ales in the city centre.

Valhalla’s Goat on Great Western Road is a bit of a west end institution when it comes to beers and spirits and their knowledgeable staff and ever evolving selection are a big draw.

Should you find yourself across the river in the south of the city, you’d better take a wander down to Pollokshaws Road and visit the Wee Beer Shop to grab yourself a growler of freshly poured beer or grab a can or two from the best curated collection of craft beer in the southside.

Finally, one of our favourites when it comes to buying beer, has to be Grunting Growler on Old Dumbarton Rd. Head here for some amazing beers from around the world and of course, some truly exciting tastings.

 

 

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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