Since they first opened their small visitor centre in 2004, Dalmore have redesigned it twice, a £1million renovation in 2011 and an extensive expansion and redesign in 2019.
Bottle sales also went from just 285,000 bottles in 2008 to more than one million bottles in 2015 when Dalmore reached the peak (first peak?) of its popularity as a luxury single malt. And while throughout Dalmore’s history a visitor centre has only part of the marketing plan, visitor centres are increasingly important in capitalising on whisky tourism and turning a brand’s drinkers into their strongest brand ambassadors.
£1million Dalmore Visitor Centre Redesign in 2011
In 2011, the owners of Dalmore distillery, Whyte & Mackay, invested £1million in comprehensively redesigning the visitor centre for the Dalmore distillery.
The previous visitor’s centre was built in 2004 when Dalmore sold less than 280,000 bottles a year and had just 3 single malt whiskies in its core offering.
Through clever marketing the popularity of The Dalmore has soared and Dalmore is now one of the most recognisable single malt brands on the market today. The 2011 update to the visitor centre was designed by Jam Studio and focuses on customer participation and promotion of Dalmore as a luxury brand..
One notable part of the new visitor’s centre is the Alchemy Room. This room contains a circular table on which sits a walnut box with some test tubes in it. In these test-tubes are three substances. One of them is meant to be smelled, one drank, and one eaten, although it is not immediately obvious which is which.
There are also three different types of tours to be enjoyed. One tour includes a relaxation room where one can enjoy a leisurely dram. A different tour includes an exhibition regarding the importance of wood in the whisky-making process. Whisky connoisseurs can enjoy a tour of the distillery manager’s office that is decorated with priceless whisky artefacts.
Well thought out lighting is installed in each part of the tour to add atmosphere to each room and make the experience one-of-a-kind.
The visitor’s centre was a huge investment on the part of Whyte & Mackay, and it seems to have paid off. Whilst only a single part of a larger marketing strategy, Dalmore is increasingly considered to be a giant of the whisky world, with their bottles selling at record prices, and their branding – including the visitor centre has helped to redefine them as a luxury brand.
Dalmore visitor centre in 2019
Dalmore have worked continuously to position themselves as a world leading luxury brand. And while there may have been a small slip in their standing with investors between 2017 and 2019 that has not stopped them from continuing to work on their brand image.
Just 8 years after the first redesign, in 2019 Dalmore have extensively extended and revamped their visitor centre. The new experience was relaunched to celebrate Dalmore’s 180th anniversary and like all aspects of Dalmore’s marketing, has focused on luxurious experiences.
The distillery and visitor’s centre is located in Alness, in the Scottish Highlands. However, the centre is currently closed to protect staff and visitors from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. You can read more information regarding this here.