The Best Gin Distillery Tours in Manchester
One of our guest’s favourite tipples here at CitySuites is a good old G&T, especially in the run up to the festive period! That’s why we’ve decided to round up all of the best Gin Distilleries in Manchester, so you can find out which ones are closest to you, what they have to offer and how you can get stuck in to some samples of their tasty gins!
In light of the current circumstances, many of the distilleries in this roundup have started to offer virtual tours and online tasting events so you can experience some of the finest gins Manchester has to offer from the comfort of your own home.
Gin Distilleries in Manchester
In total, there’s currently 11 different Gin distilleries operating in Greater Manchester, many of which are open to the public*, allowing visitors to see the distilleries in person and even try some tasters of what they have to offer. The map above shows all of the Manchester-based gin distilleries, with the ones that are currently open to the public or offering virtual tours and tasting sessions coloured in green.
Here’s a list of all of the gin distilleries in Manchester:
- Manchester Gin
- City of Manchester Distillery
- Sis4ers Distillery
- Stockport Gin
- Tameside Gin
- Faith & Sons Micro Distillery
- Fenney Street Gin
- Thomas Dakin Manchester Gin
- Worsley Gin
- Defiance Spirits
We’ve also included The Forest Distillery in Macclesfield forest, which lies just outside of Greater Manchester, but is definitely not to be missed.
Based just a short 5 minute walk from the city centre, Manchester Gin is an excellent choice for anyone visiting Manchester. As well as tours of their fantastic distillery, they’re also currently offering virtual gin tasting events hosted on Zoom.
To find out a little more about what they do, we went on one of their distillery tours and chatted to the owners.
Why do you offer distillery tours and virtual gin tasting workshops?
“We had two main reasons for moving to our new distillery last year; firstly, we needed a bigger distillery that could handle higher levels of production; secondly, we wanted to be able to offer something immersive in which we could actually meet our customers and share our passion for gin, Manchester, and quality produce. When we first started out, we were working loads of food and drink festivals and meeting our customers in person, and we didn’t want to lose that as the brand grew.”
What do you enjoy most about the tours and tasting experiences?
“The best thing about hosting the experiences is that people get to see what goes into the spirits they’re drinking - in terms of production but also passion. We’re all total gin nerds and when people visit, they get to learn so much more about our spirits than we could ever put onto a label or webpage.
“Part of the tour involves drinking neat gin, which some people are really against! It’s always fun to see peoples “gin faces” and I think most people actually enjoy that part of it more than they expect. There’s really no better way to distinguish the different botanicals and character of each gin that first sipping it on its own!”
How are things looking for Manchester Gin this Christmas?
“This Christmas is obviously looking far different to previous years and we may not be able to do the in-person tours to the same extent we have previously. The whole hospitality supply chain has been so disrupted this year so I’d really encourage people to support their local bars, restaurants, and manufacturers. Whether you buy a voucher for a distillery tour next year, a bottle of gin for your Secret Santa, we’re always here to tell you what we love about it - we’re more active on social media than ever before and have found that a great way to interact with people!”
City of Manchester Distillery
This impressive Manchester-based gin distillery can be found on Red Bank parade, just a 20 minute walk from the city centre. The City of Manchester distillery is home to the exquisite Three Rivers Gin, and during one of their 3 hour tours you can even make your very own bespoke gin to take home with you! During the tour, you’ll learn everything there is to know about the history of gin and how it’s crafted today. For those who aren’t too keen on gin, they also offer Rum experiences and are soon to be launching their Vodka experiences, too!
The unique Stockport Gin distillery is run by husband and wife duo, Paul and Cheryl, whose passion for gin led them to make their very own ‘Stockport Gin’! The couple is involved in every step of the distilling process, from foraging their signature botanical pine needles from Etherow Country Park to distilling, bottling, labelling and even delivering their fantastic gins.
Tameside Gin is the area’s first ever gin distillery, based in Denton - just a 25 minute drive from Manchester city centre. Their product range is crafted with 100% natural plant-based ingredients and described as "proper”, “no nonsense” gin. We chatted to the owner of Tameside Gin, Lee Chisnall, who told us a little bit about what the last few months have looked like for the company.
What’s the most unusual thing that’s happened since running Tameside Gin?
“The most unusual thing that has happened since we opened (first week of December 2019) was re-purposing the distillery from making gin, to making hand sanitiser back in April. I only expected to provide a small amount to local people, but within a short amount of time, it went completely nuts. I was delivering all over the Greater Manchester area. I was even mentioned on Radio Manchester. I didn't have the radio on at the time, so I have no idea what was actually said. I started receiving messages from people who mentioned it.
“I gave away several thousand bottles in the end. It cost me a small fortune, at a time when trade dropped off a cliff. But I'd do it again.”
Unfortunately, just to the coronavirus pandemic, some gin distilleries have struggled more than others. This includes the Thomas Dakin small batch gin distillery, which had been under construction and was due to open its doors to the public in Manchester city centre. The good news is, you can still try this classic style gin by treating yourself to a bottle online. Their website is also filled with ideas for gin concoctions for you to try at home!
A spokesperson for Thomas Dakin told us, “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, work on the Thomas Dakin Distillery has been placed on hold. An update will be shared in due course on plans for the distillery – we expect this to be in the new year.
In the meantime, we wish everyone in the Greater Manchester area well, especially our friends in the hospitality industry, during this incredibly difficult time.”
The family-run Sis4ers Distillery in Salford is just a 10 minute drive from the city centre. Offering an array of fun tours and experiences, this distillery is truly like no other. The four sisters who run the distillery describe it as “warm, welcoming and authentic”, and say that to drink their gin is to become part of their family. To find out more, we had a chat with Lucy from Sis4ers gin distillery.
What’s the most important part of what you do at Sis4ers Distillery?
“Our tours and experiences are the perfect way to open our doors to our community and all the gin lovers out there, for them to see first hand how we produce our gin, meet our Stills Frederica & Venetia and taste our products at source. Our family story is at the essence of everything we do and our events allow our followers to not only learn about how we craft our gin, but also feel part of the family.”
Another Salford-based distillery is the wonderful Zymurgorium, which was actually set up from a garden shed back in 2013! You can now head over to their website to experience a virtual tour of the distillery, and see exactly how their gins are made.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it new challenges for Zymurgorium, which has led to a shift in focus on online sales, and even the production of their own affordable sanitizer. They kindly provided their sanitiser (aptly named ‘Zymitizer’), free of charge to Greater Manchester Fire Service, Blood Bikers and hundreds of care homes across the region and beyond.
We spoke to their managing director Aaron Darke who told us “ It’s been a bit of a crazy ride over the last seven years - we’ve gone from using a butchered pressure cooker to a state of the art distillery, bottling line and two bonded warehouses with COVID thrown in for good measure….Epic sort of doesn’t cut it!”.
Fenney Street Gin
Also based in Salford is Fenney Street Gin; a premium small batch gin company run by nurse executive Paul and midwife Becky. Sharing their passion for gin, they started out working around the clock from their very own kitchen to produce their distinctive Cumbria-inspired Gin range.
Faith & Sons Micro Distillery
After being a bartender for 14 years, Faith & Sons owner Filipe Sousa decided to take a leap of faith as he and his family moved to Manchester and started their distillation journey. After replacing their kitchen table with a small flame-fired copper still, the rest was then history. All of the gins featured in Faith & Sons’ range have meaning that’s personal to them, such as their original gin which Filipe designed to evoke memories of home and his childhood.
Can you tell us a bit about why you chose the flavours you did for your gins?
“I chose the Lemon Verbena that grew in our garden, followed by mandarins - my favourite fruit that my grandfather used to buy for me”, Filipe says, “This resulted in a taste of Portuguese sunshine with a touch of saudade”.
Located in and inspired by the beautiful suburb of Worsley is the small-batch gin distiller, Worsley Gin. They have a stunning gift set now available to order online just in time for Christmas, alongside their luxury handcrafted 50cl bottles of Worsley Gin.
Defiance Spirits can be found in Springhead, Oldham. Although it’s a good 35 minute drive from the city centre, this premium gin distillery is definitely not to be missed. Nestled in the foothills of the Pennines, Defiance is the first UK brand in 14 years to win ‘Best In Show’ at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Awards and their gin range really does speak for itself.
As well as their gin tasting sessions and workshops, they also have their own bar where you can sit back and relax with good music and excellent G&Ts.
The Forest Distillery
Last but definitely not least is the family run Forest Distillery which produces some of the worlds finest spirits from 2 sites in the beautiful Peak District National Park. Just a 35 minute drive from the city centre, their remote location makes it feel as though you are a world away from the city - their extremely reasonable £20 price tag for their gin tours also helps! To find out more, we chatted to founder Karl Bond from Forest Distilleries.
Can you tell us a bit about the spirits you produce?
"All of our multi-award winning spirits are produced from predominantly organic or wild foraged botanicals. Come and see us on a distillery tour where you can sample some amazing Forest Gin and Forest Whisky and learn more about how it’s made."
What makes you different from other gin distilleries?
"Our gin distillery is based within Macclesfield Forest which is the ideal base for a country walk, whilst our whisky is made at the UK's highest altitude distillery at the Cat & Fiddle Inn. The remote locations mean that the tours here are some of the most socially distant activities available in the area!"
*Some of the distilleries mentioned in this guide may be currently closed due to the most recent Tier 3 restrictions, so it’s always best to check online before trying to book a tour.
We hope this guide has been useful in helping you to find your nearest Manchester-based Gin distillery and learn more about what they have to offer. To find out about other gin distilleries across the UK, check out our full Guide to UK Gin Distilleries.