Europe, the birthplace of the alcoholic drink known as vodka, is home to some of the world's finest vodka distilleries. Vodka distillation is less organic than other forms of grain alcohol distillation, and as a result, less distilleries offer guided tours of their facilities. Vodka distillation is a proud tradition and European vodka distillery tours show off the continent's dignified trade.
Filliers Vodka Distillery in Deinze, Belgium, offers guided tours through their distillery facilities for at least 15 guests at five Euros per guest. Tours last for an hour and a half, and include a look at the distillation process and a liquor tasting. Filliers top line vodka is the Van Hoo, which is Belgian vodka made from local grains. Filliers does not provide any tour dates on Sundays or holidays.
Filliers 5 Leernsesteenweg Deinze, Belgium 98000 011 (+09) 386 1264
The PermAlko vodka distillery in Ural has been producing vodka since 1895. Among its leading local vodka brands are Great Perm, Old Ural and Dimidovskaya. Tours of the PermAlko distillery facilities can be booked through the Krasnov Travel Agency. Tours last two hours and include a vodka tasting afterwards, replete with local Russian snack food. Groups in excess of four people pay 48 Euros per guest; groups in excess of nine should call ahead for pricing.
Krasnov Travel Agency 4 Borchaninova Perm, Russia 614068 011 (+7) 342 238 3520 uraltourism.com
A vacation package to Szczecin, Poland, available through Fred Olsen Cruise Lines features a stop at the Polmos Distillery in Szczecin. Polmos specialises in vodka and starka, another alcoholic beverage distilled from grain. Guided tours include a close look at the process of rye distillation, which includes storage of the vodka for a period between 10 and 50 years. The legal drinking age in Poland is 18; adults supervising youths between 18 and 21 are responsible for their drinking.
Fred Olsen House White House Road Ipswich, Suffolk IP1 5LL 011 (+44) 1473 292410 fredolsencruises.com
The Vodka Museum
The Vodka Museum in Moscow, Russia, offers guided tours of their premises, which include historical vodka memorabilia and vodka distillation equipment. Guests are educated about the many different styles of vodka as well as vodka's powerful influence on Russian politics, culture and civilian life. The museum's collection includes various regional vodka recipes and bottles from historical brands. The Vodka Museum also offers vodka tasting sessions in addition to guided tours.
The Vodka Museum 73G Izmailovskoye Shosse Moscow, Russia 107207 011 (+7) 499 166 5097 vodkamuseum.ru