Beefeater Distillery

Attractions Kennington
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A tour of London's oldest gin distillery.

London has had a long and torturous relationship with gin, which perhaps explains why we’ve been so slow to openly celebrate the juniper-infused spirit in any way other than glugging loads of it and then having a cry. Which is obviously the best way to celebrate it. Nonetheless, Edinburgh has its Scotch Whisky Experience, Dublin has the Jameson Distillery and the Guinness Brewery; while there are a couple of specialist bars and smaller distilleries where gin-loving Londoners can learn a little more, a major attraction is well overdue.

Step forward the venerable Beefeater. Its Kennington distillery has opened a small on-site ‘experience’.The distillery is not a big building: the self-guided tour will take maybe half an hour, a bit longer if you borrow an iPad laden with additional supporting information.

The best section is the first, a replica of a Hogarthian street in which you learn about the heady days of the eighteenth-century Gin Craze, as the government tried desperately to rein in an unregulated industry that threatened to swamp London.

There’s fun facts and figures throughout, even if some of the themed areas feel a bit tenuous – the thing I’ll take away from the Prohibition section is that gin didn’t have much to do with Prohibition.

But as a light, slick overview of the history of Mother’s Ruin it’s very respectable, and refrains from really hammering home the Beefeater propaganda until the final stretch (where we also get to take a brief but interesting peek into the distillery itself). And, of course, there’s a crisp and not ungenerous G&T to finish with – worth a good chunk of your £12 ticket, and the perfect way to wind up this modest but worthwhile attraction.

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Beefeater Distillery says
One of London's best kept secrets has opened its doors to visitors. Beefeater London: The Home of Gin, the capital's first dedicated gin distillery visitor centre, lifts the lid on the extraordinary stories and events behind one of the world's favourite spirits.
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Posted:

Venue name: Beefeater Distillery
Contact:
Address: 20 Montford Place
London
SE11 5DE
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Bank holidays 11am-4pm
Transport: Tube: Kennington
Price: £12, £10.80 concs
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Lise M
tastemaker

Visited the Beefeater Distillery during the London Cocktails Week. I have to say it's a well kept secret as I've never heard anything about this tour before the festival. The tour is about 1 hour long and is divided in 2 parts. It starts with an self-guided and interactive walk through the streets of London from the victorian period to our days and uncover the Gin history in London and around the world. The 2nd part is guided and a Gin expert explaining how to make gins and what are the main ingredients without telling the quantity exact. It's a secret and can't be revealed otherwise it would be hight treason! As it was the London Cocktails Week, the tour didn't finish as usual with a simple gin degustation. We had the change to be able to visit the mixer-settlers room which is usually closed to public. The tour cost usual £12 but we did it for £5 that special week. I would definitely recommend it as it's a nice experience and is interesting to know more about gin making. 

Nicola G

 A great tour which is well priced at £12. 


The tour lasts around one hour. The first half hour is self led and is spent exploring the history of Gin in London before it moves into Beefeater and its history which is very interesting. The tour guide then takes your through how Beefeater is made with samples of the ingredients. Through the glass roof you are shown the distillery and talked through the distilling process before being given your own Gin and tonic in the "The Still House" bar (which tastes amazing after learning about the process!)


There's a gift store with some cool gifts like Gin glasses Etc.


A great experience especially for the price!

Livvi AT
Tastemaker

Like the majority of London dwellers, are you a fan of gin? Well of course you are, so indulge your passion with a tour of Beefeater Gin Distillery in Kennington to uncover the world behind this iconic brand, how it’s made and its history, all swallowed down by a refreshing G&T.

At £12 per ticket, this attraction is a steal. The museum part of the tour shows you how gin and its intrinsic relationship with London has developed over the years, right back to 17th century, through to the prohibition and all in between; interesting facts galore that you can impress your friends with at the pub later on. The shift then focuses onto Beefeater itself, showcasing the development of the brand and its distinct taste. After perusing all this information, you are then given a talk by one of the gin experts who explains the secrets behind Beefeater’s delicious blend and shows you how the gin is made in the distillery.

All members of staff are not only super informative and passionate about gin, but are really friendly and ensure that your experience is as fun as it can be. We pondered over all we had learnt with a tall glass of Beefeater and Fevertree which comes with your ticket price. A 10min walk from Kennington, this tour is perfect for a gin lover, or someone just wanting to do something different at the weekend. One of London’s best hidden experiences- book now!

Jennie B

Did this tour yesterday. It's really interesting, but they have a fair few teething problems to sort out, and they don't allow nearly enough time for the tour.


Our guide Andrew was great: so knowledgeable and obviously enthused about the subject, but he kept getting calls on his pager/walkie talkie instructing him to hurry up! The last one was telling him to tell us we
had to leave the bar area to allow for the next group - when hardly anyone had finished their G&Ts! This was in no way his fault, and he had so much interesting information still to tell us, but he wasn't being allowed to by the overly-strict supervisors and insufficient time slots. We are extremely glad that we didn't pay the extra £3 for the iPads, as there was not enough time as it was to fully absorb the information on the boards and interactive screens before the guided part of the tour started.


Hopefully these are just teething problems and maybe they will review the first few weeks of operation and decide to allow more time for the tour. They should either have longer opening hours or run fewer tours each day. It’s also silly not employing someone else to prepare the drinks at the end rather than it being an additional job for the tour guide.


Otherwise, this is an excellent addition to London's tourism.