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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 20/04/2021

Re-opening distilleries will be able to offer drams to visitors on tour experiences

ASVA - The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions – is pleased to announce that, as a result of its lobbying efforts, supported by the Scotch Whisky Experience and Diageo, the Scottish Government has confirmed that samples of alcohol can be served by drinks-based attractions as part of a tour experience from 26 April.

As visitor attractions across Scotland prepare to start re-opening from Monday, ASVA - the representative body for the industry in Scotland, has been consulting with the Scottish Government on a number of key issues related to COVID-19 restrictions. 

In addition to physical distancing - which ASVA asserts should be reduced at attractions from two metres to one metre in line with the hospitality sector - the body has been seeking clarification on whether alcoholic beverages could once more be permitted within distillery/brewery experiences. This is an important issue for the 41 distilleries amongst ASVA’s membership of almost 500 attractions.

The Scottish Government has now confirmed that alcohol samples will be permitted in drinks-based attractions.

The guidance stipulates that the alcohol samples must be served as a distinctive part of the tour experience and incorporated into the ticket price. It should not be possible for visitors to buy any additional alcoholic beverages to be consumed during the experience on top of the samples provided as part of the tour. Whilst being served, all physical distancing and hygiene protocols must be followed.

Attractions have been facing numerous challenges throughout the pandemic and restrictions on alcohol have hit drinks-based attractions hard. 

It is hugely encouraging and motivating that under the tutelage of our experienced teams, we will be able to offer visitors a full complement of tours including the appreciation of our nationally produced drinks. This allowance helps us a little in managing the vastly reduced capacity and our lack of international visitors.

Susan Morrison, CEO of The Scotch Whisky Experience and Chair of ASVA

Scotch whisky visitor experiences are crucial to the future recovery of the Scottish tourism sector, and offering our guests a taste of the whiskies we produce is an integral part of what makes visiting a distillery so magical. So, it is welcome that common sense has prevailed in allowing us to showcase the best of Scotland’s national drink.

Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Diageo Brand Homes

Further information

ASVA is the representative body for Scotland’s visitor attractions sector. Founded over 30 years ago, it has a membership of more than 240 organisations, representing almost 500 individual and diverse sites throughout the country.

The Scottish Government has now published updated guidance for tourism and hospitality. Make sure you check out the FAQ section, which has a host of further, useful information. Read the guidance.