The Clydeside Distillery, located at the Queen’s Dock, was built in 2017 with the aim of reviving Glasgow’s distilling industry. The Clydeside’s first batch of whisky is due to be ready by 2020 and the site is expected to produce around 500,000 litres of spirit annually.
The facility has only been open for a few years but it’s already received fantastic reviews and it’s made it near the top of Glasgow’s local TripAdvisor To Do list.
And since Damon and I are based in the central belt of Scotland, we couldn’t really pass by the opportunity to visit.
Location And Getting There
By Car, Plus Parking
The distillery is easily accessed from the Clydeside Expressway (A814) heading in either direction. For a custom route from your location, taking into account traffic conditions, we’d recommend routing via Google Maps.
You can walk adjacent to the River Clyde on the Clyde Walkway from Glasgow city centre to the distillery. The walk takes around 40 minutes and you’ll pass by Finnieston Crane and the SSE Hydro on the north side of the river.
By Subway or Train
If you’re using public transport, the Glasgow subway and train lines are the most convenient for the distillery.
The closest stop to the distillery on the circular Glasgow Subway line is Partick Station (16 mins walk - 0.8 miles - via Beith Street/B808).
If you’re taking the train, the closest station, Exhibition Centre (near the SEC), is a 10 minute walk from the distillery. The closest stop on a mainline train route, Partick Station is a 16 minute walk away.
The Clydeside Distillery is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with the first and last tours at 10am and 4pm (4:30pm in July and August) respectively.
Ticket Types and Prices
The Clydeside, since it is a functioning distillery, offers a guided tour, with some self-guided portions. And there are 3 to choose from:
Adult £15 | Concession £13 | Child (8-17) £5 | Infants (0-7) Free
Hourly Tour from 10am-4pm
Includes a couple of short films on the history of whisky-making in Glasgow, a self guided portion, the distillery tour itself and a whisky tasting session. Taste 3 drams of whisky, Highland, Lowland and Islay 10-Year-Old Single Malts.
Chocolate & Whisky Tour
£28 Per Person (18+ Only)
1 Hour 30 Mins
Daily Tours at 11:20am, 3:30pm & 4:40pm
Includes everything you get in the Clydeside Tour, with some additions. You will complete the whisky-tasting portion of the tour in the Blender’s Room (4:40pm tour takes place in the tasting room) and you will taste 5x 10ml drams of single malt whisky.
These are paired with artisan chocolates produced by Sugar Wings of Glasgow.
£120 Per Person (18+ Only)
Every Thursday at 2pm
Max 6 Guests
Includes everything you get in the Clydeside Tour, with some alterations and additions. In this tour, you’ll be shown around by Alistair McDonald, the Distillery Manager. You’ll taste 4 Premium Single Malt Whiskies in the Blender’s Room where you’ll also be given a selection of canapés.
You’ll be gifted two large branded whisky glasses and a manager-signed bottle of Clydeside New Make Spirit.
We arrived at the distillery around 10 minutes before our 2pm tour slot, picked up our pre-booked tickets and waited in the café next to the entrance. We were booked on to the Clydeside Tour (see above for options).
Although we didn’t try it, there was a small selection of reasonably priced food and drink available at the café.
Soup, sandwiches and cakes. Hot and cold drinks including, of course, some flights and drams of whisky (with a range of price tags attached to them).
The tour started right on time at 2pm.
We were greeted by our delightful tour guide Jesme in a room containing a selection of valuable whiskies. Buy a bottle of 40-year-aged Highland Park single malt for a mere £2,650.
Jesme gave us a quick introduction to the tour, before showing us into the next room.
A short film provided some helpful backstory to the whisky industry in Glasgow and around the world.
Following that, we were guided into two larger rooms where we had the chance to learn more about the history of Glasgow and the whisky industry which became a significant contributor to the local economy.
This was the self-guided portion of the tour where we could read vertical information stands, see some historic items, watch another short film and walk around at our own pace.
This section provided some great backstory but since this was just a part of a 1 hour-long tour, we were only given around 15 minutes to experience it. This time constraint felt a bit limiting and I don’t think anyone really had the time to take everything in. This was especially true if you spent a good portion of that time watching the second short film.
Since neither me nor Damon really knew anything about the whisky-making process, the next short section was particularly helpful. Our tour guide ran us through the stages of whisky-making prior to the actual distillery tour.
This provided some context for the rooms that followed.
The next room contained metal washbacks, where the facility’s alcohol is produced due to the action of yeast. Our tour guide opened one of these up for us, allowing us to smell the fermenting alcohol.
The next area offered the most iconic sight of the whole tour. Two large, functioning copper stills sat in the centre of a large, naturally lit room, with the River Clyde flowing in the background.
This brought us to the end of the distillery portion of the tour.
If you’re a whisky drinker, this is probably one of the main reasons you bought the ticket, the whisky tasting.
Since we were on the Clydeside Tour, we were given the opportunity to taste 3 drams. One from the highlands, one from the lowlands and one from Islay. All 10-year-old Single Malts that you won’t find in shops since they’re exclusive to the Clydeside.
And don’t worry, children were offered a soft drink and drivers were given ‘Driver’s Drams’ in small containers allowing them to take their whisky home to try.
First, our tour guide taught us how to properly taste the whisky, by relying on a range of senses sight, smell, taste and mouthfeel.
In all honesty, as non-whisky drinkers, it was difficult to get past the initial (and lasting) burning sensation but I did manage to get a few hints of flavour, the smokiness from the Islay especially.
As a parting gift, we were all allowed to take home our Clydeside-branded whisky tasting glasses, which was a nice touch.
You’ll be in the shop both before and after your tour.
Unsurprisingly, there is a huge range of whisky to buy. And whilst you can buy rarer whiskies that you don’t tend to find in shops, I’d be careful with what you select if you are going to take one home with you.
You can find a lot of these whiskies in different supermarkets and the mark up is a lot less. If there’s one general tip I can give you for a trip to Scotland, it’s this. if you’re buying whisky, avoid the whisky shops and go and find a supermarket.
Nonetheless, you can pick up a souvenir which is very unique to the Clydeside. You can purchase one of the three exclusive whiskies that you tasted during your tour (Highland, Lowland or Islay). Choose a label, personalise it and you’ve got yourself a unique gift or souvenir to take away with you.
The distillery is fully wheelchair-accessible, with lifts and appropriately-sized doors.
Comfortable, flat shoes are advised as visitors walk on an open-vented suspended floor at one point during the tour.
Conclusion and Scoring
The Clydeside offers an expertly presented tour of a functioning Scottish distillery. The only issues we had were very small and can be easily remedied for future guests. Our group was slightly too large so there wasn’t enough space for everyone at the main tables during the whisky tasting. Another couple had to sit to the side and Damon and I had to sit apart.
I also felt as though we were slightly rushed through the self-guided portion of the tour. There wasn’t quite enough time to experience both the short film and read all of the exhibits.
Apart from that, I can’t really fault it. The tour guide was excellent, the distillery portion was fascinating and well-explained and the whisky tasting was informative.
If you received value from this review and you are planning on booking a tour at the distillery, please consider booking through the ‘Book Now’ button below which will take you to Viator.com (TripAdvisor’s Tour Booking Website). By booking through this link, Viator will know we sent you and we’ll receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you.
A big thanks to The Clydeside Distillery for inviting us to visit. As always, all opinions are my own. Are you thinking of visiting the Clydeside Distillery? Or if you've been, what tour did you choose and how did you find it? Let us know in the comments section down below.