Fashion for alcohol tourism originated in the late 1970s in Western Europe. This unusual market at the intersection of tourism and craft alcohol production developed primarily in those countries that were famous and still are famous for their alcoholic beverages, which are in demand all over the world. Now Poland will join them.
In Poland, the fashion for alcohol tourism, i.e. visiting small craft distilleries producing strong spirits. This year it is planned to build the first trial routes at the intersection of tourism and craft alcohol production.
Poland can become the second Ireland. Alcohol tourists will start soon
Currently, the latest logistical work is underway in this matter, ranging from transport, accommodation, food to alcohol tasting or visiting historical sites and historical buildings. About a dozen owners of distilleries have already joined the campaign, as well as dozens of other companies in the industry have expressed interest in cooperation. The start of alcohol tourism is scheduled for June.
– If growers show the right resolve and get the support they need, this is where we can quickly become ‘another Ireland’. – says Witold Wlodarczyk, Chairman of the Board of the Association of Employers of the Polish Alcohol Industry in an interview with Wprost.pl.
New routes of unusual tourism will appear. In the footsteps of restored mansions or palaces
In his opinion, today in Poland, with a resurgent market for craft distilleries, there is an opportunity to create an interesting route – along the route of restored mansions or palaces. It was next to them – often for more than 100 years – that there were distilleries that once played an important role in the manor estate. Alcohol was produced mainly from cereals and potatoes, the surplus of which was collected in the landowners’ houses.
A large part of these agricultural distilleries also prospered during the Polish People’s Republic. They constituted an important economic part of the state farms created on the basis of the former landowners’ estates. They supplied the then Polmos with raw alcohol, on the basis of which Polish vodka, already known all over the world, was created.
Unfortunately, the 1990s, along with the collapse of state farms, led to the liquidation of most agricultural distilleries. If in 1989 there were more than 1000 of them, today there are a little more than 50. However, in recent years, much has changed in the approach to old, abandoned real estate.
New distilleries are being built. There is a demand for regional spirits
– Investors appeared who, on the basis of agricultural distilleries, created distilleries that produce traditional craft spirits. says President Witold Wlodarczyk. – Created magical places with tradition and modern equipment, usually located in agricultural areas, surrounded by beautiful nature and architecture. she says.
– The opportunity to visit such places gives tourists the opportunity not only to taste great local alcoholic drinks, but also to taste the local cuisine and take advantage of the agro-tourist accommodation base. emphasizes President Wlodarczyk. In his opinion, this creates jobs in regions that are often at risk of unemployment. In the case of alcohol tourism, every job at a distillery creates 14 jobs nearby, according to British estimates. But this is not the end.
– We would also like, especially in the case of foreign tourists, to combine a visit to a distillery with an introduction to Polish culture or history. the expert says. There is another aspect of promoting such places. The average tourist coming to Europe from the USA, China or Japan knows little about the history, traditions and culture of the old continent. All the more limited is his knowledge in the case of Poland.
Unusual duet. Distilleries will be connected to tourist routes
– It so happens that our pre-selected producers are in close proximity to important places in terms of the history and culture of our country. adds Wlodarczyk. Just look at the proposed list of tourism spirits.
Not far from the liqueur factory in Lomianki to the Kampinos Forest and further to the Frederic Chopin Museum in Żelyazova Wola. Nalevki Staropolskie are products produced in small batches. They are bought not only by ordinary consumers. They are ordered, for example. the fourth President of Poland for foreign guests and business representatives.
Tourists will first visit the monuments of Torun. After that, they will go for a vodka tasting.
The same can be true when visiting the production of regional vodka in Torun. The plant is already very popular with tourists, and local guides are happy to recommend it.
Their stories show that visitors first go to the Planetarium, where they learn a lot of interesting things about the origin of Nicolaus Copernicus. During lunch they learn about traditional Polish goose meat. When buying gifts, Toruńskie Pierniki is most often chosen. Another item on the agenda is a visit to a regional distillery and vodka tasting.
– T Orunia Zakłady Wódek Gatunkowych is the oldest distillery in Poland that constantly produces spirits. The plant boasts a wide range of products and a sufficiently large production capacity in the segment of medium-sized companies, which sells a significant part of its products abroad. says Wlodarczyk.
The first routes will be organized according to the western model
On the other hand, there is an artisan distillery Podole Wielkie on the route in Pomerania. The plant produces high-quality vodka and alcohol. – Getting to know the Cradle of Solidarity in Gdansk will definitely be an interesting experience. says President Wlodarczyk. — Today, few foreign tourists know that this is where the Iron Curtain began to fall before the Berlin Wall came down. he adds. The first routes of alcohol tourism will be organized according to the Irish or Scottish model.
The fashion for spirit tourism, that is, visiting small artisan distilleries that produce strong spirits, originated in the late 1970s in Western Europe. This unusual sector, located at the intersection of tourism and craft alcohol production, developed primarily in those countries that were and still are famous for their world-famous spirits.
Poland wants to join the popular trend. We want to catch up with the best
Currently, the development of this direction is dominated by three European countries. In the first place is Scotland, which is famous for its whiskey. Over 90 percent of Scotch whiskey is sold overseas. The amount of exports exceeds 5.7 billion euros. This is incomparably more in relation to the export of vodka from Poland, which is less than 150 million euros per year.
There are 130 distilleries in Scotland, 68 of which are open to the public. In a record 2019, Scottish distilleries were visited by 2.16 million tourists from around the world.
In second place is France, which is famous for cognac. As many as 98 percent of this liquor is exported. Most of all in the USA and China. There are about 250 distilleries in France, of which 120 are open to the public. It is visited by 1.8 million people annually.
Ireland finished third. Irish whiskey is made from fermented grain wort using yeast. Only 11 percent of production is consumed in the country. The remaining 89 percent is exported. About 40 active distilleries are open to the public. They make an important contribution to Ireland’s tourism sector. In 2019, 1 million people visited the distilleries.
Alcohol tourism will help increase the export of Polish vodka
Polish alcohol producers are also counting on the consequences of the changes. Currently, Poland, with its world famous vodka, exports less than 20% of its vodka. production. – Our local market is completely saturated with spirits. For more than 10 years we have not recorded an increase. And in the case of pure vodka, we do see significant drops. says President Wlodarczyk.
Representatives of the alcohol industry are open to new ideas. However, they wonder if alcohol tourism can be part of the promotion of Polish spirits? – The answer is definitely yes. A significant part of the tourists visiting such places are foreigners. he points out.
In his opinion, a tourist who has tasted a unique regional vodka, tincture or alcohol in “beautiful natural conditions”, in a place with history, will certainly want to continue shopping after returning home. – It will also promote our products among friends. If we additionally provide him with the opportunity to deliver the selected alcohol directly to his home, for example, through an online store, then the chances of success are high. says President Wlodarczyk.
I am George Brown, author at Daily News Hack. I mostly cover economy news and I have been doing this for quite some time now. I have a lot of experience in this field and I’m always looking for new opportunities to learn more.