As indoor pubs and restaurant reopen in Scotland, the tourism and hospitality sectors are slowly coming back to life with distilleries starting to open again to the public.

If you’re planning a distillery trip – here are some of the most popular destinations and their opening times.

In recent years, whisky and gin tourism in Scotland has gone from strength to strength, with distillers and whisky-makers around the country confident that the growing appetite for Scotch will help the industry bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Latest figures from the Scotch Whisky Association reveal that growing whisky curiosity contributed to over 2 million distillery visits in 2018, and that since 2010 distillery visits had jumped by 56 per cent.

As whisky and gin tourism is a huge part of Scotland’s sector overall, here we take a look at the reopening dates, times and restrictions in place at some of the countries most popular distilleries.

From the ancient to brand new, from cities to Speyside  – here’s when you can visit the home of your favourite drams and gins again.

 

Dewar’s Aberfeldy

(Aberfeldy PH15 2EB)

Dewar's Aberfeldy

Picture: Dewar’s Aberfeldy

The Dewar’s distillery in Aberfeldy will reopen to the public on Monday 20 July with adapted health and safety measures in place.

Whisky fans can once again enjoy tastings as well as guided tours, although these will now operating at a reduced capacity.

With the health and safety of staff and visitors the top priority, facilities including the gift-shop areas have been carefully adapted with the addition of Perspex screens at till points, reduced door touchpoints and hand sanitisation stations throughout.

Temperature checks will be conducted on arrival and facemasks will be provided and must be worn at all times when exploring the distillery to help promote the safety of both staff and visitors alike.

All visitors are asked to book in advance to avoid disappointment as tours and tastings are running at reduced capacity.

Opening times are: April to October – Monday to Saturday 10am – 6pm, Sunday 12 midday – 4pm. November to March – Monday to Saturday 10am – 4pm. Closed Sundays.

Glen Moray 

(Bruceland Road, Elgin, IV30 1YE)

Picture: Glen Moray

Glen Moray Distillery will re-open on Wednesday 15 July, Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm (not weekends) will a full list of health and safety measures in place.

Visitors are asked to pre-book tastings and café visits due to limited numbers, and distillery tours are not currently available.

Glenfiddich

(Dufftown, Keith AB55 4DH)

Picture: Glenfiddich Distillery

The Glenfiddich Distillery will reopen to guests on Wednesday 15 July, initially operating reduced opening hours, which are Wednesday – Sunday, 9:30am-4pm.

The team are working on creating new tour experience which will be available from mid-August but for now visitors can enjoy the Robbie Dhu covered patio terrace, which is open for breakfast, afternoon tea, lunch, coffess and cakes.

Timings for this are: Tea, coffee and cakes: 09:30 – 16:00. Breakfast: 09:30 – 11:30. Lunch: 12:00 – 15:30. Afternoon tea (please allow 24hrs notice): 12:00 – 15:30.

There’s also the whisky lounge, which is available to book for tailored tastings, flights, cocktails and mocktails from 10am-4pm – for up to five groups of over 18s.

Visitors who book the terrace or lounge will be offered a free highlights tour, which gives a brief introduction to the distillery and access to some production areas.

To book please email glenfiddich.bookings@wgrant.com or call the Visitor Centre on +44(0) 1340 820 373.

Borders Distillery

(Commercial Rd, Hawick TD9 7AQ)

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The Borders Distillery is an award-winning conversion of the former Hawick Urban Electric Company buildings. Built in 1888 to supply electricity to the town’s textile mills, the excess power produced meant Hawick was one of the first towns in the UK to be fully electrified. (The Electric Company’s very first non-mill customer was the Hawick Temperance Society. We wonder what they’d have thought of the building now producing spirits!) Since the Electric Company closed its doors, the building has been used variously as a workshop, bakery, and sweetie factory, and for a time was the home of Turnbull & Scott – the industrial engineers. We’re proud to be carrying on the long tradition of manufacturing on this site.

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The Borders Distillery reopened to customers from Wednesday 15 July, following the lockdown period.

Posting on their website, the team detail what to expect when visiting.

Tours must be booked in advance, by phone, on 01450 374 330. We cannot accept any walk-in visitors for tours (although you’re welcome to come in and browse our shop)

– Tour parties must all be from a single household or single “social bubble”

– Tour bookings will only be taken for a minimum of 4 people, and a maximum of 6. (Any fewer than 4 and it becomes uneconomic for us to stop work to show you round. Any more than 6 and we wouldn’t be able to ensure 2m distancing and the safety of our team)

– For the safety of our team, all tour visitors will be required to wear a mask throughout the tour. A new disposable mask will be provided for any visitor who doesn’t have their own

– In line with Scottish Government guidance, all visitors must provide contact details for the purposes of Track & Trace. These details will be securely disposed of after four weeks

– Tours will run 10am, 11.30am, 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm – Monday to Friday.

Strathisla

(Seafield Avenue, Keith, AB55 5BS)

distillery opening times

The Strathisla visitor centre – home of Chivas Regal – will reopen from the 7 August, Friday- Sunday 12pm – 4pm.

Checkpoints have been implemented, including temperature checks at site entrances, hand sanitiser stations in each room, clear social distancing signposts throughout and increased cleaning procedures.

Face masks will be provided where necessary, however, visitors are encouraged to bring their own.

Those wishing to experience a socially distanced guided tasting will be required to pre-book their tickets online in order to effectively manage visitor numbers and ensure strict social distancing measures are adhered to at all times.

The distillery will be operating in accordance with the track and trace initiative in order to ensure the safety of visitors, staff and the surrounding community.

In addition to learning about the craftsmanship behind every bottle of Chivas Brothers’ blended and single malt whiskies, whisky fans will be able to purchase a bottle or two at the shop via contactless payment.

Visitors will be able to discover the history behind the world-famous blended Scotch through two one-hour tasting experiences; Chivas: The Blend and Discover the Distillery Reserve Collection.

Each tasting experience is limited to 6 visitors and takes place once a day between Friday – Sunday during the hours of 12-4pm. Prices range from £30 – £50.

Lindores Abbey

(Abbey Road, Newburgh, Cupar KY14 6HH)

Picture: Lindores Abbey

This modern distillery in Fife will reopen on Friday 17 July for small, pre-booked whisky and history tours, and tastings within the visitor centre and abbey ruins.

These tours will be available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11.30am, 1.00pm and 2.30pm and priced at £10.

Tables for lunch and drinks must be booked in advance, and visitors can enjoy a ploughman’s picnic, £12.50 per person or luxury seafood hampers, £65 for two.

The Courtyard will also be open every Friday (11am – 9pm), Saturday and Sunday (11am – 4pm) for a pre-booked bar service (cold drinks only).

All bookings and refreshments must be booked in advance, by 6pm the night prior to visiting, and bookings can be made by emailing info@lindoresabbeydistillery.com

The distillery is asking all guests to adhere to the current government guidelines with relation to social distancing and mixing households, and as part of this will be the team will required to ask each party to complete a Track and Trace information form.

Kingsbarns and Darnley’s

( Kingsbarns, St Andrews KY16 8QE)

Picture: Kingsbarns

This picturesque distillery in the east neuk of Fife offers something for both whisky and gin fans, and welcomed back visitors from 15 July.

Posting on their site, the team explained that tours aren’t currently available but that the cafe and shop are open once again.

“We are delighted to announce that we will be re-opening on Wednesday 15th July and welcoming you back to our shop and cafe.

“Tours are unfortunately still unavailable but we hope to have these back running as soon as we possibly can.

“Our 5-star distillery and visitor centre in the East Neuk of Fife for whisky and gin tours, tastings and delicious local food served in our cafe. Normally, we have 3 types of whisky distillery tours suitable for all levels of whisky interest.

“Darnley’s Gin Distillery also offers “Discover Darnley’s” tours or visits to the Gin School to distil your own gin.”

Edinburgh Gin

(1a, Rutland Place, Edinburgh EH1 2AD)

Edinburgh Gin’s has announced that it will reopen its distillery and visitor centre to the public from Saturday 1 August , after temporarily closing its doors due to lockdown.

The news comes as the distillery is awarded Visit Britain’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ stamp of approval, confirming that Edinburgh Gin is adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and have the required processes in place to reopen safely and with confidence.

Distillery experiences are set to return, where guests will be treated to an insight into Edinburgh Gin’s history and world of botanicals.

As part of the experience, visitors will be able to view the gin stills through protective windows, while learning about the journey from botanicals to bottle across Edinburgh Gin’s extensive range of classic London Drys, full-strength flavours, and liqueurs.

The distillery tastings can be attended by a maximum of eight people from four households and tickets must be booked in advance, released for sale on a monthly basis, with up to four, one-hour tours available per day.

Tastings of their award-winning gin will also return, taking place in a large space at the distillery bar.

Preparation of drinks and tasting vessels will be carried out by staff in PPE and all drinks will be served from closed bottles, poured by visitors themselves.

Visitors will be asked to wear masks on arrival and while moving around, and there will be dedicated hygiene stations, with readily available hand sanitiser, around the site.

Staff will be wearing Perspex visors, allowing them to engage with guests while sharing the  tales of Edinburgh Gin and its award-winning range.

Kilchoman 

(Rockside Farm, Bruichladdich, Isle of Islay PA49 7UT)

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It is lovely welcoming people to our new Visitor Centre today. We are now open 7 days a week. You can call in for a browse in the shop, sample some drams at the bar or choose something delicious to eat/drink and take away (please note there is currently no ‘sit in’ option available in the cafe). Tours are also available daily and must be booked in advance. For more information or to book a tour please email tours@kilchomandistillery.com or telephone +44 (0)1496 850 011. Full details can be found on our website, link in bio. #kilchomanwhisky #kilchomandistillary #visitorcentre #distilleryvisit #isleofislay #visitscotland #islaywhisky #islaysinglemalt #singlemalt #islay #touristattraction

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Kilchoman is  now open seven days a week for tours, shopping and food and drink.

Tours must be booked in advance by emailing tours@kilchomandistillery.com or phoning +44 (0)1496 850 011.

Drams are being served at he bar and visitors can once again browse the shop. Food and drink are available at the cafe, but there’s currently no sit-in option.

The visitor centre and cafe are open from 9.45am – 5pm.

Glengoyne

(Dumgoyne, Killearn, Glasgow G63 9LB)

distillery opening times

Picture: Wikimedia/Andrew Bowden

Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has announced that it will reopen its distillery to the public from Saturday 1 August.

The news comes as Glengoyne was awarded VisitScotland’s ‘We’re Good to Go’ stamp of approval, confirming that the distillery is adhering to the respective Government and public health guidance, have carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and have the required processes in place to reopen safely and with confidence.

Glengoyne’s popular whisky experiences will return and can be attended by a maximum of 20 people from ten households, while private “Malt Master” experiences will also be available to book for up to four people from a maximum two households.

Each hour-long session will see visitors enjoy an in-depth insight into Glengoyne’s history and award-winning range of single malt whiskies.

Tickets must be booked in advance with up to five tours available per day.

Visitors will be asked to wear masks on arrival and while moving around, and there will be dedicated hygiene stations, with readily available hand sanitiser, around the site.

While access to the stills is prohibited, Glengoyne’s Tasting Room will be open, where guests will be able to enjoy a tutored tasting of Glengoyne whiskies.

Preparation of drinks and tasting vessels will be carried out by staff in PPE and all drinks will be served in sealed containers.

Staff will be wearing Perspex visors, instead of masks, allowing them to fully engage with guests while sharing the tales of Glengoyne and its award-winning range.

Glengoyne’s on-site shop will also reopen, with guests being asked to register on arrival for contact tracing before being able to browse and purchase the brand’s range of whiskies and other gifts.

The Glenlivet

(Glenlivet, Ballindalloch AB37 9DB)

distillery opening times

Picture: The Glenlivet Facebook

The Glenlivet distillery visitor centres will reopen to the public from the 29 July, Wednesday to Sunday 10am-1pm and 2pm-4pm.

On reopening, the distillery will be equipped with extensive health and safety measures to ensure visitors can take part in the adapted tasting experiences, now operating at a reduced capacity, all while safely soaking up the beautiful scenery of Speyside.

Checkpoints have been implemented, including temperature checks at site entrances, hand sanitiser stations in each room, clear social distancing signposts throughout and increased cleaning procedures.

Face masks will be provided where necessary, however, visitors are encouraged to bring their own.

Those wishing to experience a socially distanced guided tasting will be required to pre-book their tickets online in order to effectively manage visitor numbers and ensure strict social distancing measures are adhered to at all times.

The distillery is also operating in accordance with the  track and trace initiative in order to ensure the safety of visitors, staff and the surrounding community. And the distillery shop will be accepting contactless payments.

At The Glenlivet, visitors will be able to enjoy tutored tasting sessions of The Glenlivet Exclusive and Rare editions in an outdoor socially distanced setting, whilst enjoying views of The Livet Valley.

Launching from the 29 July, tastings of The Glenlivet Collection (30 mins), The Glenlivet Distillery Exclusives (1 hour) and The Glenlivet Rare (1.5 hours) will be available for up to six visitors per session. Tickets range from £15 – £45.

Ardbeg

(Port Ellen – Kennacraig, Ardbeg Distillery Isle of Islay PA42 7EA)

distillery opening times

This popular Islay distillery looks to remain closed until August.

Posting on their site, the Ardbeg team said: “Like you, we have been closely monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation and as the health and welfare of our visitors, visitor centre staff, and the wider community on Islay is of paramount importance to us, we have taken the difficult decision to extend our period of closure for the Distillery, Visitor Centre and Old Kiln Café until at least the 31st August 2020.”

Nc’nean Distillery

(Drimnin, By Lochaline, Morvern PA80 5XZ)

This independent organic distillery will reopen to visitors on 3 August.

Posting on their website the team said: “From August the 3rd we will gradually be taking bookings for distillery visits. We can’t wait to open our doors again alongside our new safety guidelines.

“For the time being, tours will work slightly differently as you will not be able to go inside the distillery itself, but you’ll still be able to hear all about our sustainability initiatives, find out how we make whisky, browse the shop and taste our ever evolving spirit.

“August tours without tastings will be free of charge, with just a £5 charge per person if you want to sample our spirits. Visitor numbers will be restricted so please get in touch with our visitor manager Amy to see if she can fit you in. We can’t wait to welcome you.”

Aberlour

(Banffshire, A95, Aberlour AB38 9PJ)

Picture: Aberlour Distillery Facebook

This popular Speyside distillery will reopen on 29 July, with a range of safety measures in place.

Checkpoints have been implemented across the site, including temperature checks at site entrances, hand sanitiser stations in each room, clear social distancing signposts throughout and increased cleaning procedures.

Face masks will be provided where necessary, however, visitors are encouraged to bring their own.

Those wishing to experience a socially distanced guided tasting will be required to pre-book their tickets online in order to effectively manage visitor numbers and ensure strict social distancing measures are adhered to at all times.

The Track and Trace initiative is in place at the distillery in order to ensure the safety of visitors, staff and the surrounding community.

The Fleming Flight and Speyside Collection experiences are two-hour guided tastings with up to four visitors, held in a socially distanced manor in The Fleming Room at the Aberlour distillery.

From the 29 July, sessions will run from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10am- 12pm and 2-4pm, with prices ranging from £20 to £40.

Scapa

(Kirkwall KW15 1SD)

The Scapa visitor centre shop on Orkney will reopen on 29 July, from 2-5pm.

Checkpoints have been implemented, including temperature checks at site entrances, hand sanitiser stations in each room, clear social distancing signposts throughout and increased cleaning procedures.

Face masks will be provided where necessary, however, visitors are encouraged to bring their own.

Scapa will open for those wishing to purchase any of the whiskies available at the on-site shop.

In line with strict social distancing safeguards, a maximum of three visitors will be allowed to enter the shop at any one time.

Visitors will be welcomed from the 29 July on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 14:00 – 17:00.

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About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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