The exclusive experience is for VIPs only.
Whisky isn’t the only spirit providing a boom to Scotland’s economy. Though whisky tourism has been at a record high this year—leading a number of these Scotch brands to update their facilities, including the opening of a $200 million state-of-the-art visitor center from The Macallan—gin sales are also soaring. As a result, Scottish gin brand Hendrick’s has just unveiled a $17 million update to its distillery in Girvan known as The Hendrick’s Gin Palace.
Upon arrival, visitors can expect to find “a mysterious and enchanting walled garden which leads to a magnificent and imposing Victorian inspired palm house,” Hendrick’s states in the announcement. “This is flanked by two botanical hot houses used to cultivate a plethora of unusual botanicals and flora from around the world. There is the inner sanctum that is [Master Distiller Lesley Gracie’s] laboratory which features a curious flavour library, a lecture theatre that encourages scholarly learnings and a suitably stylish bar.”
Sadly, however, the opportunity to become a visitor isn’t as easy as you might hope. Despite the investment, the upgraded facility isn’t open to the public. Instead, as Bloomberg describes it, only “select VIPs” will be able to score an invitation, determined by the gin’s brand ambassadors.
However, William Grant & Sons—which owns the Hendrick’s brand along with other big names like Glenfiddich, Balvenie, and Tullamore—didn’t dump eight figures into the distillery just to impress the occasional VIP. The expansion doubles the gin maker’s production capacity and is also intended to give Gracie extra room to push the brand creatively. “I've been distilling Hendrick's for almost twenty years and during that time, my team and I have had the opportunity to explore and experiment on a small scale,” she said in a statement. “However, I'm thrilled and excited to take full advantage of our wonderful new distillery and begin working on a line of experimental liquids, some of which will hopefully blossom into future releases and potential new expressions of Hendrick's.”
Pamela Selby, the Global Brand Director for Hendrick's, also chimed in on the reason for the improvements. “The Hendrick's Gin Palace in its design and experience, is intended to inspire curiosity, open minds and serve as a platform for invention,” she said. “It pulls back the curtain on the wondrous production method and showcases the many layers of Hendrick's that it has become celebrated for, some humorous, others curiously intellectual, detailed and deeply meaningful.” Maybe one of these days, they’ll pull the curtain back even further and let average Joe gin lovers check out that stylish bar.