A nice friendly microbrewery of my acquaintance is moving to bigger premises and upgrading from 5BBL to something bigger. The new premises has room for a visitor centre-cum-shop.
What my friends would like to know is: what works? They would like to get an idea of what facilities they should install and what attractions to offer.
Could you provide me with the names of any small breweries that already offer this sort of thing so they can have a look?
Hesket Newmarket, Keswick, Jennings(!).
Information is what I think people like, plus the ability to see the brew kit in safety. And tasters.
Keeping the brewery clean, tidy and shiny is probably good - but I admit that this is not what I do well. Perhaps a viewing window, gallery or barriered walkway.
You cannot beat the value of a friendly informed welcome and I'd start simply with that. Comfortable chairs and WC facilities might be essential, but perhaps I'm stating the obvious there.
I think, for what it's worth, a look outside the brewing industry might also bring in useful ideas. I like Sizergh Barn shop. Really, that's just a visitors centre for a cow shed. Diversity and quality is what makes it great.
Free beer at the end of the brewery tour.
Free beer at the beginning of the brewery tour.
Free beer throughout the brewery tour.
The best brewery tour I did was when they decided to skip the tour part completely and just let us have free beer in the brewery bar.
Strangely enough, the Dublin Brewing Company no longer exists...
Take a look at York Brewery (obviously in York), Sulwath Brewery (Castle Douglas) or High House Farm (Maften, Northumberland) for 3 very different styles of visitor centre!
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