The Distillery Tour (17:00 on 10/09/2018)
This distillery tour was a notable one for myself; while it was the third distillery in Ireland I have visited, it was the 100th distillery overall that I have visited.
From that point of view my tour here will be somewhat different to ost people's; I say this as I was aware it was the 100th in advance and mentioned it on Twitter prior to going.
Everyone at the distillery knew who I was and was expecting me; I was greeted by name when I arrived by the lady on receiption and, I arrived early for the tour after spending the day walking around Dublin. the Assistant Distillery Manager came out for a quick chat while I was waiting for tour to start.
The tour covers a history of Thomas Pearse Lyons, the founder of AllTech and the distillery, as well as his company Alltech, whiskey in Ireland, Dublin and the Golden Triangle as well as the historic St. James' church the distillery is based in.
The tour kicks off from the new purpose built visitor centre where you watch a short video, before the tour moves outside to the graveyard of the distillery; fortunately the rain held off while we were outside and we soon moved inside for the tour of the distillery.
The distillery is a very modern one, equipment wise, but they keep some parts of it (wooden washbacks) nicely traidtional. The mix of stainless steel, wooden and copper equipment makes for an interesting (in a good way) contrast with the old church.
When the tour was at the mashing stage the tour guide asked the mash man (apolgoies, to him, but I'm bad with names) if he'd like to describe his part of the process, which he did. This is apparwently quite common and entirely intentional and means you get a very good description from someone who obviously likes his job.
The same happened at the stills where the head distiller contributed to the tour, describing the fermentation and distillation processes.
This was avery nice touch, as, at most distilleries, the tour is presented entirely by the guide, with perhaps a couple of questions to the people working in production.
The tout was a fairly large group, predominatly Americans, but it did not feel like a large tour. I think this was partly because the spaces we were in were quite large, but also that the group was a good humoured one (as groups of Americans tend to be) and everyone on the tour was interested.
Photos were allowed everywhere you wanted to take one; we also got to dip fingers in one of the wash backs and taste the fermenting mash; I've only done this before in Kentucky and it is possibly notable that the only non-Kentucky distillery to allow this was founded by a man from Kentucky.
I opted to upgrade the tour from three samples to four; we also got to sample the Pearse Lyons gin. I was the only person on the tour to have done this. Why do I mention this? Well, as I said everyone knew who I was and was expecting me at the distillery and it was by the four samples that the head distiller picked me out and we had a bit of a chat.
As they new this was my 100th tour they made it extra rememberable by doing a small presentation of a gift bag, which gives me something to always remind me of a most enjoyable visiit, and took a group photo. This was a very nice personable touch.
Even without this, I would have counted Pearse Lyons Distillery one of the better tours on which I've been.