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So THIS Is Where It Comes From?

In advance of our trip to Scotland, I wanted to do some research on potential distillary, brewery, & winery tours we might be able to take. So, before we left home, I visited a few of our local liquor stores, both the fancy high end ones with gleaming brass and polished wood, and the ones that smell like stale cigarettes and spilled beer.

We quickly learned that they just don't MAKE wine in Scotland. So that idea went out the window pretty fast. The king of spirits is Whisky. We had dozens and dozens of distillaries we could visit...in fact be booked our second week's rental based on its proximity to the Whisky Trail.

In the beer catagory, I noticed that the high-end liquor stores carried a Scottish brand called Orkney Brewing Company. What luck, we were going to spend a week in the Orkney Islands, we could book a tour of this brewery while there.


I also found some interesting things on the internet. Here is a blog entry by a beer taster in the UK who seemed to be fond of Orkney Brewing.

GoodPeopleEats blog.

And here's a couple of guys in a bar in Pennsylvania who appear to be pursuing the Gary Vanerchuk model of tasting television. Two Guys On Beer.
They need to develop a little more confidence. And they REALLY need to do better research and fact checking with the historical background they throw in. The Vikings were neolithic? Really?!? But these guys do have promise. I might watch them. The episode is #069, posted on 05/06/09. It's the first one on page 9 of their menu.

We were really looking forward to touring the Orkney Brewery, but when we called to check on schedules we kept getting a recording. Since it wasn't very far from our rental cottaqe we just decide to take a chance and drive over one afternoon.

Here is what we found:


A very small building, locked up tight. Barrels outside in the open - stacked everywhere. Noone around. That car in the foreground is ours.

Too late for us, but good news for anyone planning to visit Orkney beginning NEXT summer, they are adding on to their operation and will be including a tour center and tasting room.

Here is their website: Orkney Brewery

Comments (4)

Interesting post, Deborah. I knew Whiskey was it in Scotland, but I would have thought they still make wine. Good to know!

Deborah responds: Well, in the interest of full disclosure, there is a "winery" on Orkney. But, it's all stuff made out of everything but grapes. Pretty yucky.

HI Deborah, I thought of you when I read a review of this book in the paper today (just in case you don't already know about it):

"Luscious Liqueurs" by A. J. Rathbun (Harvard Common Press, $12.95)

Barb Cabot:

Very interesting. I can always count on learning something new when I read your blog.

I was never much of a beer drinker until I went to Scotland and England in 1990 ... once I tasted GOOD beer, I was forever spoiled!! I haven't found a US beer that compares favorably to a brew like 80 Shilling Ale ... but perhaps missing the "pub culture" has something to do with it, too. :)

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