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WSTA maps out UK visitor centres for thirsty ‘staycationers’

Published:  24 August, 2020

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has launched an interactive map of distilleries and wineries that are open to the public in the UK.

The WSTA Locations initiative is aimed at attracting ‘staycation’ holidaymakers to local distilleries and vineyards, allowing them to “learn more about the art of wine and spirit making” across the burgeoning UK drinks producing scene.

The map initially features some 50 producers that welcome visitors for tours, tastings, food and/or accommodation, with the aim of increasing this number in line with the fast growing tourism-linked experiences being offered by the industry.

Noting that in the last five years distillery numbers and UK wine production have more than doubled, the map features many of the new and rising gin, whisky and wine companies that have taken the plunge with visitor facilities, in addition to longer established distillers and vineyards.

The WSTA also flagged the ‘Royal seal of approval’ given by the Queen to both British gin and English wine, with the debut of Buckingham Palace Gin in July following on from the launch of the Queen’s first English sparkling wine, grown on Windsor Great Park, which went on sale to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016.

“The ginaissance has led to a huge wave of investment in exciting new distillery visitor centres and tours [and] there are now more English vineyards offering tours, tastings and dining experiences than ever before,” said WSTA chief executive, Miles Beale.

“The pandemic means that more people are choosing to enjoy a staycation over the summer and this August Bank Holiday weekend. The WSTA’s interactive map has been designed to encourage people to find out more about the wave of exciting new wine and spirit experiences on their doorsteps.”

Map users are able to click though on grape or spirit bottle icons that lead directly to information about the tourism possibilities available via producers’ websites.

Britain now hosts over 760 vineyards, with 260 established in the last five years, with the ‘ginaissance’ adding 80 new distilleries in the last year alone to bring the total to over 440.

The boom in gin has also been mirrored by a sharp rise in the number of English and Welsh distilleries producing whisky and, more latterly, rum.

The Locations Map can be found here.