When somebody mentions museum what is the first image that comes to your mind? Paintings, sculptures, ancient artifacts – been there, done that. But who says museum visits have to be all about the art? Our list of 10 museums dedicated to your favorite drink should make you stray off the beaten path and enjoy your favorite beverage at the place it was created.
Mind you this list might come in handy before you set off on your travels. And while we are all about being responsible if you fail to do so you might consider taking out a prescription for Drinkwel. If that is not an option food stuff has been known to help.
Originally located in St. Petersburg Vodka Museum was moved to the Moscow’s Izmaylovo district. The exhibition is fairly extensive – did you know that Russian classes had different vodka preferences? Or that there is such a thing as an established vodka standard? There is an on-site restaurant where you can try out the local dishes and sample numerous brands of vodka. And to avoid any potential embarrassment in case vodka sampling gets out of hand make sure you know the local customs (hint – Na Zdorov’ye is not a toast!)
Wine Museum restaurant is located at what used to be Friars of Passy Monastery while the wine exhibition can be found at limestone quarries dating back to 13th century. Owned by the Conseil des Echansons de France (an organization dedicated to the promotion of the French wines) Wine Museum offers interesting insights into the process of wine production. The restaurant on site offers tasty French fare but do not be surprised if waiters seem a bit stand-offish (has been known to happen). Museum also offers wine tasting classes. And being knowledgeable about wine can come in handy.
Schnapps Museum in Vienna is located in a factory that dates back to the end of 19th century and has been in the Fischer family for the past four generations. What is notable about Schnapps Museum is that it is still used for the daily production and their tipple includes Williams Pear Brandy, Wiener Blut Liqueur and Absinthe Mata Hari. Schnapps can be very tricky though, so make sure to line your stomach before you reach for your complimentary drink.
What better place to learn about scotch than Scotland? You can find Scotch Whisky Experience located next to the Edinburgh castle (convenient that) and take a barrel ride that will lead you through the process of whisky production. Scotch advisor (off topic BUT how does one land a job like that I wonder?) will also be on hand to help you explore all the different whisky aromas. If that is not enough Scotch Whisky Experience boasts the world’s largest collection of scotch whiskies and there are samples available. Another option is a guided tour suited to your level of expertise (from novice to connoisseur) so take your pick.
If you can manage to tear yourself away from Prague for a day one place that should be on any beer connoisseur’s list is Pilsen Brewery Museum. Dating back to 1959 Pilsen Brewery Museum offers informative guided tours about the beer history and the production process as well as beer tastings. There is a restaurant and a pub at the premises – latter gives you a unique opportunity to taste unfiltered beer as it was drank 100 years ago. Visit to Pilsen Brewery Museum is an all day affair but there are tours available from Prague.
Located some 15 minutes from San Juan Bacardi Rum Distillery offers an informative tour about the history of the Bacardi family, the details about the rum production process and extensive exhibition of Bacardi advertising through the decades. The biggest lure of the tour by far is the Lounge where you can enjoy your complimentary drinks and learn how to mix a mean Mojito, Cuba Libre and Daiquiri. Bare in mind the tour is free of charge so steer clear of potentially dodgy local travel agents that might want to charge you for it.
Sake Museum, Tokyo
What we know as sake is sometimes mislabeled as rice wine when translated to English (the process used to make sake has more in common with beer fermentation). But in Japan the term sake is used to describe any and all alcoholic beverages. What we actually drink when we order sake is known in Japan as nihonshu. If you are looking to get your sake on and find your favorite brand Nihonshu Center in Tokyo is the place to go – there are more than 6,000 different brands available to choose from.
Did you know that gin is distilled from juniper berries? Juniper berries make for the basis of the distillation process and are then mixed with a number of spices to give gin its distinctive flavor. Gin Museum in Hasselt is located in what used to be a convent farm for the Franciscan monastery but got turned into a distillery at the beginning of 19th century. Biggest attraction of the museum (apart from the 145 different types of Belgian gin available) is the steam operated distillery that is still used to produce gin today.
If you manage to tear yourself away from the nearest coffee shop and if you have already been to the Rijskmuseum why not pay a visit to Heineken Experience? Since this particular museum is more interactive than the rest you can get your own personalized bottle of beer and experience what it feels like to be brewed and bottled in 4D (one would advise to steer clear of the funny brownies before this particular escapade).
It has to be said Guinness Storehouse is a bit of a tourist trap. But it is a fun tourist trap and well worth the visit. The building itself is shaped like a pint – you start at the lobby and end up at Gravity bar at the 7th floor that offers spectacular views of Dublin (and where you receive your complimentary pint). On the floors in between you will learn all about the ingredients used to make Guinness, the brewing process, about Arthur Guinness himself and you can see the exhibition about the world-famous (and quite effective) Guinness advertising. Oh and did I mention there is a taste laboratory on the premises?
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