While the Scottish summer may be taking its trademark tour from sunny to stormy, you can always enjoy a drink whatever the weather. Beer has been brewed in Scotland for over 5,000 years, dating back to the Celtic era, and there are currently around 80 breweries across the country. Microbreweries, independent distilleries and small scale creators of alcohol have sprung up across the country over the past few years, and their popularity has soared. No longer limited to specialty bars or shops, these drinks are readily available in supermarkets as well as your local. Perthshire has become a creative hub for pioneering brewers and distillers of beer, gin and of course whisky! We’ve compiled a list of some of the breweries, distilleries and winemakers based in the region. Many of them are open to the public for tours or a visit to their shops, and they’re all within driving distance of Perth, where you can end your night in one of the city’s many bars and indulge in a few local favourites!
Probably Scotland’s smallest distillery (that’s how they describe themselves), Strathearn were crowned winners of “Scotland’s Craft Spirit of the Year” in 2015 thanks to their Oaked Highland Gin. Located in the village of Methven, the distillery creates both hand crafted artisan single malt whisky and a range of premium gins that are widely marketed across Scotland, the UK and the world. Strathearn have released three limited run whiskies named Uisge Beatha (Gaelic for “Water of Life”): A briefly matured drink aged in cherry, chestnut and mulberry wood to give them their unique flavour. Their traditional small copper stills are used to make individual batches of whisky and gin, and Strathearn is one of the few places in Scotland where you can have a cask made just for you! As the sole Perthshire stop on the official Scottish Gin Trail, Strathearn has much to live up to, but their hand-crafted artisan gins – flavoured in juniper, heather rose and oak as well as the classic style – have gained rave reviews. If you fancy a visit, there are a number of tours and experiences available, from a simple tasting tour to a detailed 4 hour history of all things gin. Check out their website for the full selection. Some dates are very limited so book early.
Distance from Perth: 9.4 miles
Recently purchased by brewers Innis and Gunn, the Inveralmond Brewery was established in 1997 and has grown in renown and popularity since. In 2014 they won the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Food Drink Award, and their range of beers has increased year after year. Perthshire’s famous water, crisp and free of impurities, helps give their selection its distinctive flavours. We recommend the dark full flavours of Lia Fail and the spicy coffee-like comfort of their Rascal London Porter. Tours of Inveralmond are available by prior booking. Choose from a simple tour and taste or the deluxe Brewing Legend package, complete with souvenirs to commemorate your visit. Details are available on the website.
Distance from Perth: 11 miles
Cairn O’Mohr Winery
Scotland isn’t exactly famed for its wine making capabilities, but one winery off the country roads of Carse of Gowrie has helped to change that. Cairn O’Mohr’s range of fruit and floral wines are made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, most of which are hand-picked within a 25 mile radius of their location. Their sparkling oak and elder wine is dry and tart, akin to a floral prossecco, while their strawberry wines offer a sweet Summery vibe. Proudly local, Cairn O’Mohr donate a percentage of their weekly takings to the local public house and serve the community in a number of ways. As well as the typical wintry tours, Cairn O’Mohr are ideal for a Summer’s day out. Their AliBob Cafe serves delicious homemade food and local produce, including cakes, fresh bread and other assorted pastries. Enjoy a drink and a treat on the gazebo and admire the surrounding wooden sculptures, or walk around the elder plantation and spot the various insect life. Scheduled winery tours take place every Wednesday and Sunday from April to the end of October. Booking isn’t required, although larger groups should call ahead. Their deluxe tour includes a generous series of samples in the wine tasting room, accompanied by locally made oatcakes and cheeses, and offers an ideal social experience for larger groups. Visit their website for more information.
Distance from Perth: 11 miles
The Famous Grouse Experience
When you think of whisky, you think of The Famous Grouse, and the Famous Grouse Experience remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the entire country. Located at Glenturret Distillery, just outside Crieff, this is the go-to place for any whisky enthusiast. They even have the royal seal of approval thanks to a visit from Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. As Scotland’s oldest working distillery, The Famous Grouse offers a detailed, fascinating tour and day out for visitors. The selection of tours available ranges from the simple distillery visit and taste to a full day experience behind the scenes where you can enjoy a morning with the Stillman, then an afternoon malt challenge. The Wilde Thyme restaurant on-location at Glenturret offers luxury dining for visitors, with the best local produce prepared by a top team of chefs. Stop in for lunch, dinner or afternoon tea after your visit to the distillery. Glenturret and The Famous Grouse offer a truly authentic experience for visitors that’s as memorable as their whisky. Check out their website for more details.
Distance from Perth: 19.1 miles
Located in the village of Blackford, south of Crieff, Tullibardine has been an independent distillery since 2003 but has a rich history that does back to the 15th century. The water used to make their award winning whisky comes from the surrounding Ochil Hills and is famed for its purity. Tours of the distillery and tastings are led by one of their knowledgeable team members and take place frequently each day. If you are part of a bigger group or would like to pre-book your tour, get in touch with your time and date and they’ll work to accommodate you to offer the best experience possible. Visit their website for more information.
Distance from Perth: 22miles
Blair Athol Distillery
Surrounded by the picturesque landscape of Pitlochry and Highland Perthshire, the Blair Athol Distillery has been a key part of the whisky industry since 1798, making it one of the oldest working distilleries in Scotland. Surrounded by the picturesque landscape of Pitlochry and Highland Perthshire, the Blair Athol Distillery has an annual capacity of 2.3m litres, with the nearby Allt Dour burn acting as their primary water source for their trademark 12 year old single malt. They’re also key contributors to the Bell’s Blend, the UK’s most popular blended whisky. Their standard distillery tour includes a guided tour, dram of whisky and a £5 discount voucher for a 70cl single malt, all for £7, making it one of the best value for money tours in the area. If you fancy something more luxurious, the deluxe private tour includes tutored tasting of their single malt and 4 further drams from their incredible treasure trove. Booking is required so check out their website for further information. It’s the perfect spot for a day out in Pitlochry.
Distance from Perth: 26.3 miles
Founded in 2011 by the Procters and located on the family farm at Deanshaugh, just outside Dunkeld, StrathBraan Brewery was born from a background knowledge in microbiological culture media and good old fashioned love for beer! Their custom built brewery produces two drinks: A classic citrus tinged pale ale and a malty bitter.
Distance from Perth: 21.6 miles
The Moulin Inn, located in Pitlochry, was one of the first microbreweries in Scotland, first opened in 1995. With no brewing experience to speak of, they started from the ground up and sold their first brews for 50p a pint in the pub. Soon, their popularity shot up and they now produce 4 real ales, still available in the local next door as well as a few select locations across Perthshire. Their brewery tour is short but free, no booking required, and a selection of souvenirs are available.
Distance from Perth: 27.8 miles
Founded in 1897, Dalwhinnie has the distinction of being the highest distillery in Scotland, located in the Highland Perthshire village of the same name and with an altitude of 351m. At that height, you can guarantee the water used is special. Indeed, The Allt an T’Sluic Spring provides a particular crispness to Dalwhinnie’s whiskies thanks to a proportion of it coming from the snow melt. Their signature bottle is a 15 year old single malt but they also produce a 20 and 36 year old version. Their tasting tours offer something a little different – a range of malts paired with hand selected Highland chocolates! There are a variety of tours available and given the location and frequently severe weather conditions, it’s advisable for you to book ahead. Each adult visitor gets a free Dalwhinnie whisky glass and discount voucher redeemable in their gift shop for any 70cl bottle of single malt. Check out their website for more information.
Distance from Perth: 57 miles