“We’re just trying to make some good liquid and share it with as many people as possible”, Dan Tripp, the master distiller of Exeter Quayside Distillery told us, after a tour of his new distillery and tasting session of a few of his delectable gins.
Exeter Quayside Distillery is small as far as gin distilleries are concerned.
But its unique distilling methods to make gin and vodka, mouthwatering cocktails, range of experiences and diverse selection of food make it one of the best things to do in Exeter for anyone who’s fond of a tipple.
Here’s an Exeter Quayside Distillery review and everything that you need to know about visiting!
About Exeter Quayside Distillery
The Exeter Quayside Distillery is an establishment located, as the name suggests, on Exeter quay.
It’s a joint venture by Exeter local Dan Tripp and his business partner George Nightingale, who also owns Spoken restaurant in Exmouth – which is one of my favourite places to eat in the town!
Here, the master distillers create their own gin and vodka, infused with unique flavours, and offer guests gin experiences including make your own gin classes!
There’s a restaurant and bar on-site, so if you’d rather, you can just sip on their unique and ingenious cocktails and sample their Mediterranean tapas-style cuisine.
There’s even a shop where you can purchase Exeter distillery merchandise!
The Gin Distilling Process
One thing that sets Exeter Quayside Distillery apart from its competitors is its unique gin distilling process.
I won’t go into the whole process in this article – you’ll have to do a tour to find out – but they use different stills to most gin distilleries, which enables them to infuse many more flavours than you’ll find elsewhere.
This has led to various quirky gin and vodka flavours including monster munch pickled onion, jam doughnut and peanut butter.
If you ask Dan when you visit, he might let you try whatever creation he’s discovered at the time!
How to visit Exeter Quayside distillery
Aside from just popping in and enjoying the food and drinks, there are a few experiences that you can have at Exeter Quayside distillery.
This informative experience is ideal for any gin lovers who want to sample a range of drinks and learn more about England’s favourite spirit!
Exeter Quayside Distillery offers full distillery tours, where you can learn about the exact process that goes into making their gin.
Tours include a gin and tonic on arrival, a few samples and a gin-based drink at the end. Of course, you’ll also enjoy a full demonstration of how this gin is uniquely made and how the distillery differs from others.
While it’s an organised tour, it’s quite a relaxed affair, with lots of opportunities to ask questions about making gin and vodka and, of course, the chance to try their range of drinks.
Distillery tours take place every Saturday at 5:00 pm and cost £30 per head.
Make your own gin
Gin school is seriously in session for this next experience. If touring around the distillery isn’t enough, you can also make your own gin!
As we learned about this experience, Dan advised us that “there is no such gin as the best gin in the world. Every palate is different”.
This is why they decided to introduce make your own gin experiences, enabling people to use a fusion of botanicals to create their own unique gin.
This experience lasts 90 minutes and includes a welcome gin and tonic, an introduction to distilling and the opportunity to create your own unique gin with ingredients from their extensive botanicals list.
Dan, the master distiller, will be on hand to advise about the perfect match of botanicals, but you’re free to use your own creative licence here, just like all gin distillers do!
Whether you want to create a gin for a special occasion, make a birthday present, or just fancy having your own unique spirit, you’ll love this gin-making experience.
And, at only £75 (which includes three drinks and a sealed bottle of the finished spirit), it’s an absolute bargain.
Hopefully, you’ll discover your new favourite gin, and if you do, Exeter Quayside Distillery keeps the recipe on record so you can re-order it at any time.
You can find out more information about both gin experiences and book on the Exeter Quayside Distillery website – click here to visit it!
Exeter Quayside Distillery bar
Spread out over the ground floor, the Exeter Quayside Distillery bar is a fantastic place to chill out in.
Expect welcoming features like a comfy, squashy sofa and exposed brickwork, giving the bar a relaxed, hip vibe.
Whether you fancy a quick drink while exploring the city or a whole night of cocktails, the bar is open from 3 – 11 pm on Wednesday to Friday and 12 noon – 11 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
On the menu are creative cocktails like the Cream Tea Daiquiri which consists of cream distilled white rum, citrus and strawberry jam, or the Only Fans Martini, which is “like a pornstar martini, but different” – it tastes exactly the same as the passionfruit cocktail, but it’s completely clear!
If you or anyone in your group isn’t drinking, there’s also a selection of low/ no alcohol mocktails which are infused with botanicals – so you can still have the same experience without the booze!
Food at Exeter Quayside distillery
Once you’ve sipped on a few cocktails, you might be feeling a bit peckish.
Good news – Exeter Quayside Distillery has a vast food menu featuring Mediterranean-style tapas.
Whatever your dietary requirements, you’ll find something here.
There’s a veggie menu with dishes like Spanish omelettes, a hummus of the day and garlic and dill mushrooms, seafood options including calamari rings and anchovies with pan con tomate and meat dishes such as ham croquetas, hand-carved ham and Moroccan lamb.
Where is the Exeter Quayside distillery?
As the name suggests, this distillery is located on the beautiful quayside of Exeter.
This is only a short walk from the city centre – it’s 15 minutes from Exeter Cathedral and is close to attractions like the Old Customs House, Saddles and Paddles where you can rent out canoes and bikes and restaurants like Rockfish.
Alternatively, you can walk from Exeter Central station in 20 minutes and Exeter St Davids Station in 25 minutes.
If you want to take a taxi, you can use Uber or Apple Cabs, a local taxi firm that runs taxis on the metre and takes card.
Don’t drink and drive, but if someone is staying sober in your group (the distillery offers an extensive selection of mocktails too!), Haven Banks 2 Car Park is very close to the Quayside Distillery and is the cheapest car park that I’ve found in Exeter.
Does the Exeter Quayside Distillery make Exeter Gin?
No, Exeter Gin is a separate brand of gin and is actually located in Teignmouth, a 30 minute drive south west of Exeter.
It’s also different to Devon Distillery, which is a gin distillery located in Torquay.
Exeter Quayside Distillery: A unique distillery in Devon
There are a number of other gin distilleries in Devon, but Exeter Quayside Distillery is set apart by its unique distilling methods and gorgeous cocktail bar and restaurant.
Whether you want to try a gin experience and tasting, want to make your own bespoke spirits or just fancy sampling a wide range of cocktails and mocktails, the Quayside Distillery in Exeter has a lot to offer.