Ever wondered how they make barrels? No, me neither. My mum suggested we visit Speyside Cooperage, the only working cooperage in the UK, and why would you say no? It was really interesting and I now know a lot of things I never knew before, for instance that a barrel is a type of cask but not all casks are barrels.
It’s situated in Craigellachie, near to many of the famous distilleries that make up a large proportion of their customers. They have various exhibits, a pretty good film about the history and workings off the cooperage and then you get to go up to the viewing gallery and watch the coopers at work. It looks like very hard work but very skilled and probably quite satisfying too. Interestingly, most of what they do is fixing up old bourbon casks imported from the US since they’re only allowed to use them once and us Europeans aren’t so fussy. You can also have a go at building your own mini cask (it’s not easy),
As a sideline, they recycle worn out casks into useful things including tables and chairs for the cafe, and silly things like trains and cask houses in the grounds. You’d be hard pushed to spend more than a couple of hours here but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.