Scotch whisky distiller Tomatin has announced that last year it experienced a record number of guests to its visitor centre.
This is the first time Tomatin has surpassed 49,000 people visiting the Highland distillery and the first time it has exceeded £1 million in turnover.
Over the past five years, visitor numbers to the Highland distillery have grown by 140%. This growth is being attributed to increased awareness of the Tomatin brand – both here in the UK and globally.
Louise Taylor, Tomatin Visitor Centre Manager, said, "It has been an outstanding year for Tomatin's visitor centre, which is reflective of the growth of our brand with more people having heard of us before coming to visit us.
"We have put a lot of effort into developing high quality and informative tours, with an ‘access all areas’ approach allowing our visitors and loyal fans to really understand who we are and what we do at Tomatin. Our tours cater for different interest levels, ranging from those who are visiting a Scottish whisky distillery for the first time to those who have visited many others before. Our most in-depth tour is the Single Cask Experience, where visitors can learn the importance of cask selection, with an in-depth tour of the distillery and warehouses before ending their journey with a tutored tasting of five distillery exclusive single cask whiskies.”
Led by employees, many of whom live in onsite accommodation or in the nearby village, visitors can experience the entire whisky journey – from the barley and the source of the distillery's water, through to the various pieces of equipment used to make the whisky, including an original mill. Tomatin is the only distillery that has an exposed mash tun for tour-goers to climb inside. This offers a better understanding of the huge vessel and how mash tuns are used to convert the starches in crushed grains into sugars for fermentation.
The 4-star Visit Scotland accredited visitor centre screens a film in several languages in which guests can learn about the distillery’s history, starting from its humble roots in the 15th century. The centre also has a gift shop stocking a range of award-winning whiskies including five distillery-exclusive single casks from which customers can ‘bottle their own’. A wide range of other unique products can also be found, such as furniture made from whisky barrels, Tomatin whisky chocolate, Tomatin tea, and the distillery's very own tartan in the form of blankets, scarves, lampshades, cushions, ties and braces.
Chris Taylor, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “It’s wonderful to see that Tomatin Distillery has enjoyed a bumper year for visitors. It’s a testament to the hard work put in by the team there to enhance their visitor experience with improved tours and better accessibility.
“Whisky is one of Scotland’s most valuable commodities with people from all over the world coming to our shores to experience an authentic Scottish dram. A culinary icon, it remains as important as ever to the tourism industry with one in five visitors making a trip to a whisky distillery during their stay and even more visiting a bar, pub or restaurant to sample our renowned national drink.”
The distillery currently employs 58 people, including 11 visitor centre staff who work at the distillery all year round, increasing to 16 staff in the summer season. This is a significant increase from just 3 full time staff in 2012.
Tomatin's trophy cabinet bursts with accolades and awards including winning Distiller of the Year 2016 and Brand Innovator of the Year 2017 at the Icons of Whisky Awards. Tomatin is also currently ranked in the Top 10 Single Malt brands in the USA and are one of the fasting growing brands in the UK.
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