How to Create a Distillery Tour of Your Spirits

Some marketers like to call it "experiential marketing." It's the term used in the industry to describe a trend in the adult beverage industry. Whatever you want to call it the basic premise is giving customers a full, sensory experience of your distillery. Today's market works when consumers are wholly engaged with the story you have to tell. The more educational materials you have to share the better your chances for turning them into brand advocates.

A quality experience like this is engineered and deserves planning. Larger distilleries are already taking advantage of this process because it works. But, that doesn't mean smaller ones can't hold their own through a similar service. Design firms exist solely for the purpose of creating an atmosphere for you. But, if you believe in conceiving the concept yourself, there are some steps you can take.

The Five Elements of Experience

Your brand identity shapes the visitor experience. A solid foundation of who your company is will help drive the concept. The beauty of the experience is the ability to take visitors out of their daily lives and pluck them into your world. You need to control every element from timing to activities involved. The five elements include:

  • Sensation

  • Action

  • Location

  • Education

  • Story

Your distillery needs to communicate a story that is unique. Decide what an individual can touch, smell, taste, or hear that would engage them with your product. Give them information about what is special, historical context, the ingredients you use, or your pledge to being local. Share with them your complete brand story.

Why Sensory Engagement?

Senses are strongly linked to human memory. You want your visitors to walk away and become involved with your product. Owning and operating a distillery is full of sensory opportunities. The key takeaway for building a strong strategy is including anything that is as far removed from daily activities as possible. When they are with you, they should forget what is happening outside your four walls. Always bring the sensory back to your story. Here are some ideas:

  • Have visitors smell fermentation or distillation

  • Bring to their attention the pounding of the machinery

  • Use a bottle of your product as a prop before, during, or after the tour

  • Utilize all of the space and map the journey to include elevated areas of the distillery

  • When necessary bring their attention to the entire space you use or point out the landscape.

  • Have them taste some of the raw ingredients

Use all of them or add some of your own. Don't be shy and point out the senses they might be experiencing, especially when they are tasting your spirit.

What You Should Include in Your Tour

The Creation of Your Story

Consumers want the complete experience. It's no longer about massive productions. Focus on getting the history of your company ironed out. In your story include the location and the founders. What was the ultimate vision for the spirit and what inspired the recipe? Keep it authentic and close to home to make a massive impact.

A Full Education of Your Beverage

Work from the bottom to the top. You can consider education to look similar to a pyramid. The bottom is a reflection of general knowledge. At the top, you have specifics about your brand. Let's use production as an example. Your production story should start with the basics about the ingredients and how they are grown. From there you work inwards describing how they contribute to your distillation process and ultimately how they formulate your product.

A Final Tasting

You're in the business to make money. Use the close as a way to draw in your visitors and drive sales. The best implementation is tasting. You've walked them through how you developed the concept, and you've addressed the effort you put in to make it a premium product. With the information top of mind, seal the senses with a taste of your spirit, wine, or beer.

What You Shouldn't Do on a Tour

Don't fall into a passive trap. Video introductions aren't going to hold their attention. Run through the daily operations and ask yourself and your team if there are ordinary tasks that might seem engaging for a visitor. If there are engaging tasks, it might be worth letting the visitor participate. Some people who come on these tours don't have any previous experience in the processor aren't much or haven't been involved in crafting on any level. A simple press of a button here or checking the proof with you could elevate their experience and engage more of their senses.

Creating an Adult Beverage Brand

Your authentic branding drives success. If you seem to be struggling, your consumer will also find it difficult to connect with you. Working with an agency like the Brindiamo Group can help develop a strong brand presence in the adult beverage industry.

Contact us today to learn more.


Knittle, Tim. “Distillery Visitor Experience.” Artisan Spirits. Summer, 2017: 93-95. Print.

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