2024 Wellness Guide

Aerial view of a lush green valley with a farm, road and white distillery building in the center. There are mountains in the background.
Copalli Rum Distillery in Punta Gorda, Belize


Craft Distilleries Offer History, Hospitality, and Hands-On Experiences

by Shaun Tolson
A person pouring whiskey into a glass from a wooden barrel. The barrel is large and appears to be in a dimly lit warehouse.
Glenora Distillery in Nova Scotia produces single malt whiskies

A guest room with a king-size bed, a couch, chairs, and a ceiling fan in neutral colors. The room has a vaulted ceiling with exposed wooden beams and large windows with white curtains.
Accommodations at Copalli Rum

The long tradition of drinking alcohol stands, but never has the process of distillation—from the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the craft to the lifestyles of its makers—been so revered and romanticized as it is today. Imbibers seek out stories behind the spirits, traveling across oceans for in-depth tours of craft distilleries and guided tastings with in-house experts. Distilleries have followed suit, building accommodations and offering overnight stays with behind-the-scenes programming and familial atmospheres.

“If I had to live my life over,” actor and vaudevillian W.C. Fields once said, “I’d live over a saloon.” Here, five fine distilleries where you can make yourself at home.
Copper distillery equipment inside a large industrial building. The equipment consists of several interconnected pipes and tanks.
Journeyman Distillery

Whiskey and More

Journeyman Distillery

Three Oaks, Michigan

In 2010, the middle section of the defunct Featherbone Factory in southwestern Michigan was transformed into a work area where a more modern (and far more romanticized) product is now meticulously crafted. In that space resides the Journeyman Distillery, which opened its doors in 2011 and today bottles 25 different distilled products, nine of which are whiskey.

A full day at Journeyman Distillery can provide quite a drinking journey, albeit one that never moves off of Main Street. Guided distiller’s tours that span 90 minutes, for example, include a tasting of a dozen spirits, not to mention a couple of sips drawn straight from barrels resting in the warehouse. It’s also easy to get lost in the two-page cocktail menu at the distillery’s restaurant, Staymaker, where 50 libations are listed, not including five spirits tasting flights, each with a distinct focus.

Fortunately, the 12-year-old distillery offers a trio of lodging options. Larger groups stay at The Flat, a 7,000-square-foot, loft-style residence that’s accented by exposed brick and timber beams, boasts a private courtyard and entertaining space with a billiards table, and is comprised of five bedrooms. Slightly smaller parties will prefer The Journeyman Farmhouse, a four-bedroom residence with an open floor plan and wood-burning stove situated just around the corner from the distillery. Finally, there’s the two-bedroom bunkhouse located steps from Main Street—an avenue that, according to Journeyman’s founder Bill Welter, includes saloons and other buildings that have survived since the 1800s. “There’s a tremendous amount of history, charm, and just the feeling of stepping back in time a little bit,” he says. journeyman.com

A large white building with a dark roof. The building has several stories and many windows. There is a green hillside behind the distillery, and trees in the distance.
Glenora Distillery in Nova Scotia

Single Malt Whiskies

Glenora Distillery

Nova Scotia, Canada

Although Canada is best known for its blended and rye whiskies, there are standouts in other categories too. Glenora Distillery, for example, located in northern Nova Scotia, produces award-winning single malt whiskies crafted in a style similar to the light, easy-drinking Speyside expressions that are distilled at Cragganmore and Craigellachie in Scotland. Such comparison not only reflects its deep Scottish roots, but also the source of the distillery’s stills, which were exported to Canada from Glasgow during the 1980s.

Across an expansive estate of almost 700 acres, the Glenora Distillery offers four distinctive styles of guest accommodations—a nine-room inn, which is attached to the distillery and hospitality complex; six standalone chalets positioned on the hillside above the distillery; Glenview, a lodge made up of five traditional guest rooms; and a fourth building, called Brookside, which features eight modern guest rooms and is appropriately positioned parallel to a brook that flows through the property.

According to Lauchlin MacLean, president of Glenora Distillers Ltd., the chalets stand out most for their privacy and the views they can offer looking out over the glen. But there’s something to be said for staying in one of the inn rooms, especially since they provide easy access to a main patio that offers views of the stills through the main production building’s giant windows. “You can go out at 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning,” he says, “and as the sun’s coming up, you can have your coffee on the patio and watch the beginnings of a new distillation day.” glenoradistillery.com

Night view of the exterior of the Bowmore Distillery on the Isle of Islay, Scotland.
Bowmore Cottages


Bowmore Cottages
Islay, Scotland

Like the spirit itself, the history of Scotch whisky is layered and complex. Those who love Scottish single malts are drawn to the drink for its flavor and are at least marginally influenced by the longstanding tradition behind it. Those who appreciate its history—and who also enjoy the distinct peatiness of most Islay Scotches—will want to spend at least a few nights in one of the Bowmore Cottages.

Varying in size from one bedroom to six, the distillery’s half-dozen cottages date back to the 1800s and previously served as homes for some of Bowmore’s workers, and even its owners. Distillery House, for example, is a four-bedroom residence that once belonged to the Mutter family, who bought the distillery in 1837. Recently renovated, each cottage features furnishings that reflect the black-and-copper influences found inside the distillery, while custom upholstery and other soft accents sport Bowmore’s official Tartan plaid.

The cottages require a minimum three-night stay; however, the distillery acknowledges that most cottage guests book their accommodations for an entire week. After all, Bowmore is conveniently located at the heart of Islay, positioned less than 30 minutes from all eight of the other working distilleries on the island. Should you book yourself a stay, make sure to visit the distillery’s visitor center bar, where cottage guests are offered a complimentary whisky-and-chocolate tasting, one highlighted by the pairing of Bowmore 18-Year with confections crafted by the Oban Chocolate Company. bowmore.com

A bar interior with furniture including stools, console table and couches. Behind the bar, there is a large wooden shelf displaying various bottles of alcohol. 
Copalli Rum Distillery


Copalli Rum Distillery

Punta Gorda, Belize

Staying on-site at a distillery may provide a distinctive experience; however, most of the time, those overnights won’t feel like a luxurious resort getaway. Such is not the case on the southernmost region of Belize where Copalli Rum is created. The organic and sustainable distillery, which covers about 114,000 square feet, is part of a larger 16,000-acre estate that also includes an organic farm, protected rainforest, and Copal Tree Lodge that is home to 16 suites and one family villa.

During the day, resort guests can tour the distillery, which is located less than a mile down the hill from the lodge, and while they’re there, they can also sample the brand’s three expressions through guided tastings and cocktail classes. Back at the lodge, guests can also sip their way through more than a dozen cocktails that highlight the rum. Standouts include the Old Fashioned 2.0, made with cacao rum and vanilla syrup, and the Spicy Mayan, which spotlights Copalli’s rested rum and farm-grown allspice leaves. copaltreelodge.com

A person putting on a label onto a glass bottle of gin. The bottle is on top of a wooden table with an empty glass next to it.
Gin and more at The Distillery in London

Gin and More

The Distillery

London, England

There’s no shortage of reasons why spirits enthusiasts would venture down Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood, at least not if their destination is The Distillery, a producer of craft spirits that was founded in 2011 and later moved into its current four-story location at the corner of Talbot Road. Those digs were once The Colville Hotel, and while most of the defunct hotel’s guest rooms no longer exist, the top floor is home to a trio of overnight rooms that guests can reserve. Not surprisingly, they come in handy given the extensive gin- and cocktail-focused classes and experience that The Distillery provides.

From masterclasses on classic gin cocktails to The Ginstitute Experience—an in-depth, three-hour journey into the history of gin, as well as the art and science behind its creation—The Distillery is like the Wonka Factory for alcohol. The Chronicles of the Martini, for example, is a 90-minute guided session into the classic cocktail, which is advertised with an important footnote: “Please arrive on time and sober,” the website advises, “as there is quite a bit to get through and several drinks to be drunk.” Similarly, The Distillery’s James Bond Experience is a five-course dinner, where each plated course is paired with a prominent libation connected to author Ian Fleming and his famous character.

“It’s a generous portion of drinks,” says Jake Burger, The Distillery’s master distiller, “so having a room next door is certainly convenient for many people.” the-distillery.london