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Diversifying Into the Drinks Tourism Market

The drinks tourism market is booming! Find out Rural Solutions’ tips on harnessing the power of this diversification idea for your land.

No one can deny the booming trend in quality, artisan alcoholic beverages. These are increasingly becoming a popular subject for rural landowners to look at producing and leveraging as a tourist attraction on their site.

There is an emerging opportunity in the UK, with clear evidence of success demonstrated in the international market; many countries are achieving significant economic growth through drinks tourism.

Want to get involved on your own land? Then get your FREE ticket to the Farm Business Innovation Show to check out what Rural Solutions offers. Read more about them, below…

Grape vines are one of the many beginnings, where the drink tourism world starts

Successful Drinks Tourism Attractions

Winding Down with a Drink

Alcohol is very much associated with leisure time in many consumer’s minds. Therefore, the experience of a leisurely visit to a well presented visitor centre is now a regular excursion for:

  • People looking for a day out
  • A fun and unusual experience for groups
  • Work away days
  • Hiker excursions
  • Hen dos

The Whole Story

Tourists often want to see the whole story; part of the attraction is being able to observe the production and learn about the source, background, and heritage of a product. The experience can be very entertaining and educational. In particular, small, independent brands are becoming much more interesting to a growing number of consumers, especially when it’s in a region that is famous for that particular beverage i.e. cider in south west, whisky in Scotland.

Scale Up or Down

The different ways to execute a drinks-based visitor experience on your land are expansive, with varying scales of operation and options on what could engage visitors. From a simple shop, to a restaurant, or even movie theatres, the options are endless.

Many estate owners could look at vineyards, wheat fields, or orchards as a diversification opportunity for arable land. Alternatively, distilleries/breweries are a potential use for redundant buildings, and incorporate a thriving visitor centre off the back of it.

Around 7,400 rural jobs are linked to the drink tourism industry in the UK, and we see this growing over the coming years.

An apple orchard is the best place for the creation of apple juice and cider

Planning Considerations

The easiest route to start a new drinks based enterprise in rural areas will likely be through the change of use, and conversion of existing buildings. Many redundant farm buildings, both modern and traditional, will provide large open spaces, which will lend themselves to conversion for such uses. Consideration will need to be given to matters such as vehicle access, as well as managing perceived issues of noise and odour impacts.

One Step at a Time

Once a business is established, expansion and the creation of new purpose-built buildings will be easier. Planning policy supports the expansion and diversification of rural business, including those that enable sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments.


Rural Solutions secured planning permission for a traditional brewery in Lancashire to relocate to a rural site with a new purpose-built brewery and visitor centre developed around a traditional farmhouse. They also provided stabling for their famous dray shire horses!


Also, their work on the ‘Whole Estate Plan’, with Wiston Estate in Sussex, set the framework for the estate to secure a planning consent for redevelopment of a farm site to a business centre. This included a new winery for their award winning sparkling wine business, which will include a new visitor experience within the South Downs National Park.

Saying cheers with beer signifies a great day with friends

Get in Contact...

It is important to note, all diversification advice at Rural Solutions is bespoke to the client. Their recommendations are driven by extensive market research, and analysis of the chosen location. This information is merely intended to inspire landowners with the range of possibilities.

Check out Rural Solutions at the Farm Business Innovation Show, at the NEC, Birmingham on 6th & 7th November, to discover more interesting industry insights. Get your FREE ticket today, and we, and Rural Solutions, will see you there!

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