Old Bushmills Distillery
Whiskey lovers mustn’t miss out on the chance to visit the Old Bushmills Distillery, one of the few historic operating distilleries that offers tours to the public. Even if you aren’t too fond of the distinctive alcoholic malt drink that Ireland is famous for, it’s interesting to learn about its history and see how it’s made.
The story of the Old Bushmills Distillery starts in 1608, when Sir Thomas Philips applied for, and was granted, a distilling licence from King James I. It wasn’t until the mid-1700s that the Old Bushmills officially became a distillery, but it is still considered to be the oldest distillery in the world.
Learn about the whole whiskey production process on the walking tour of the distillery. Lasting about 45 minutes, the tour begins in the mixing room where water and malted barley are combined. Continue on to the fermentation hall where the yeast is added and the whiskey starts to become alcoholic. The special copper stills give Bushmills whiskey its unique flavour, and American oak and Spanish sherry casks are used for maturation. The tour finishes in the blending lounge and bottling plant where the finishing touches are made and the whiskey is finally packaged.
The tour guides all have personal experience of making Bushmills whiskey, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to ask them all about their work and how subtle changes in the ingredients and soil can produce a very different taste. You will also learn all about the history of whiskey in Ireland.
The tour ends with a complementary whiskey tasting for the adults, with soft drinks provided for any children. Head to the bar to sample some other tipples and enjoy a traditional Irish meal in the restaurant. Take home a souvenir or a bottle of vintage Bushmills whiskey from the Bushmills shop.
The Old Bushmills Distillery is located near the Irish Sea, 97 kilometres northwest of Belfast. The distillery is open every day, but it is wise to call ahead to confirm opening hours.