On August 15, 2023
Distillery tasting rooms serve an important purpose: welcoming visitors who want to sample your spirits. All you really need is a bar, a few glasses and maybe some chairs. But a well-designed tasting room allows customers to experience everything your brand is and can turn them into loyal customers.
As an alcohol branding agency with several years under our belts, we’ve had the opportunity to visit quite a few distillery tasting rooms. What we’ve learned is that the design of that space is also an alcohol marketing opportunity. Some distilleries have really communicated who and what their brand does through a room (or rooms).
Depending on what you want your visitors to take away from their time at your distillery, there are a number of ways to send that message through interior design. Wall art, bar design, seating choices, window treatments all contribute. Even if you’re working with a small area, you have the ability to make it a big statement.
A few of the best examples of tasting room design that acts as an extension of a spirits brand include the below spots. Scroll through each of them and maybe consider visiting so you can experience them yourself.
Earl Giles Distillery
Co-owner Jeff Erkkila’s great-grandfather, Earl Giles worked as a pharmacist and distributed liquor in apothecary bottles by plane across the Midwest. The Earl Giles Distillery carries on that tradition by producing innovative syrups and other elixirs. When you step inside the restaurant, you’ll feel like you just got off a plane in Central America.
A bar crafted from Monkey Pod from Costa Rica anchors the main floor while a wide range of plant life stretches across the space. An apothecary tucked into the Mezzanine acts as an homage to the distillery’s namesake and showcases the brand’s many products. Guests dine and partake of beverages at tables that hug a large copper still at the center of the room.
Combined, the space manages to inject a bit of adventure into tasting spirits while also making their visitors feel welcome and comfortable.
Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse
Adventure is a prominent feature of the Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse space as well. Named for an old mining town, the distillery occupies a spot in Denver’s RiNo Arts District. The brand embodies the adventurous spirit of Colorado from Denver to the mountains and the tasting room really brings that to life.
Artwork across the walls depicts Colorado’s mountains while a ski lift chair celebrates winter sports, often prevalent across the state. A cozy corner with a fire faces a bar inspired by the still you can see through the windows. A large patio out front makes Ironton a destination worth visiting no matter what the weather.
Wood-fired pizzas, unique cocktails and a relaxed atmosphere deliver a tangible version of Ironton’s brand identity. Everything on the menu is also delicious so that’s a big plus!
Copper & Kings
With the goal of putting a modern twist on a traditional spirit, Copper & Kings crafts American brandy using techniques that are sustainable and modern. That’s why it makes sense that the event and retail space sits in reused shipping containers. The minute someone walks through those doors, they understand something about the brand.
In addition to the shipping container space, Copper & Kings hosts a rooftop bar that takes in a view of Louisville from above. The modern bar and restaurant manifests the updated processes used to deliver three distinct brandy products.
That bar provides the perfect place to introduce visitors to an elegant but modern American brandy.
Nearly every letter ad number in the name of this distillery celebrates its hometown: St. Louis. You can easily spot the STL in StilL but the 630 is a nod to the height and width of the St. Louis Arch, a piece of architecture that inspires the products StilL 630 produces. The tasting room occupies an old, renovated Hardee’s – not exactly an architectural wonder but it’s impressive what they’ve done with the space. Keep an eye out for the lone 1990s-era seating that remains.
Known as the Library of Indomitable Spirits, StilL 630’s location sits just south of Busch Stadium, offering cocktail classes from the refurbished fast food restaurant. Some of the original seating remains to add a bit of personality. The passion for the craft stands out among those plastic chairs and tables and force visitors to really pay attention to the gin, rum, brandy and agave spirits.
By taking a piece of fast food culture and repurposing it for the sake of craft spirits, StilL 630 builds something new for their audience – an homage to St. Louis, craft spirits and their raw passion for the process.
Brother Justus Distillery & Whiskey Room
Not far from Earl Giles, Brother Justus maintains a location in Northeast Minneapolis, where they work to develop high-quality whiskey from Minnesotan ingredients. Inspired by a Benedictine monk from Minnesota who encouraged farmers to craft whiskey during Prohibition, the distillery focuses on American single malt. Through the brand’s Whiskey Room, they’ve created a spiritual escape for those who share a passion for whiskey.
The views alone make the Whiskey Room a perfect place to kick back with a glass of whiskey. It looks out on Columbia Golf Course and its rolling hills and woodlands. Well-chosen comfortable seating peppered around the 14,000 square foot area makes it feel downright cozy.
Given the namesake of the distillery, it makes sense that Brother Justus wants guests to sit, reflect and get a bit spiritual with their whiskey.
Dedicated to the creation of craft spirits in a way that would make the Pacific Northwest proud, Freeland Spirits is run by free-spirited women. Taking inspiration from founder Jill Kuehler’s grandmother, the brand’s philosophy is to make spirits from scratch, starting with the best ingredients grown in the region. That philosophy comes through in the space Freeland uses as its tasting room in Portland, Oregon.
With both indoor and outdoor spaces, the clean and refreshing atmosphere reflects the clean processes and flavors of Freeland’s gin. The blue hues around every corner showcase the colors you see on the bottle – but also the waterways of the area that help fuel the distillery’s craft. It’s a clean and modern experience for visitors.
This space helps visitors understand not only Freeland’s gins but also their entire brand ethos. It’s worth seeing for yourself.