As more whisky lovers move from recreational drinking to educational drinking, distilleries have become ivory towers of whisky erudition. There is simply no better way to learn about whisky than observing a shimmering copper pot still, inhaling the heavenly smell of a barrel warehouse, and interacting with the individuals who craft our favorite spirit. Most distilleries are happy to show you around and pour you a dram or two, but a select few go above and beyond, offering immersive educational experiences that help to truly elevate your knowledge, and may even land you a dream job—making whisky, of course.
Mississippi River Distilling Whiskey School
Length of study: 1.5 days
Tuition: $2,000 (for two)
Mississippi River Distilling hosts a whiskey school weekend each spring, with the next session scheduled for March 2018. Learn about the history of whiskey, along with its production and even consumption as you learn to mix classic cocktails. Tickets are sold in pairs and include overnight accommodations, as well as all food and drink—not to mention six bottles of Cody Road whiskey to help encourage your continued hands-on educational efforts at home.
Midleton Irish Whiskey Academy
Length of study: 2 days
Tuition: €1199 ($1,350)
The Irish Whiskey Academy at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork, Ireland, offers a two-day Enthusiast Academy, replete with five-star accommodations and a bespoke bottle to take home with your completion certificate. Follow the whiskey step-by-step from raw materials to maturation, and get hands-on with blending and bottling, all while enjoying several premium tasting sessions. The Enthusiast Academy is offered twice per year, while a single day Discoverer package is offered monthly for €350 ($400), and a three-hour Academy Experience is offered on an ongoing basis for €95 ($110).
Spirit of Speyside Whisky School
Length of study: 3 days
Tuition: £600 ($775)
Held in conjunction with the popular annual Spirit of Speyside festival, this whisky school takes place at the Knockando Distillery and features a diverse lineup of lecturers from across the whisky industry as well as from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Come ready to earn your diploma; with only sixteen slots available for the robust three-day curriculum, this is for serious whisky students. School is in session from April 30 to May 2, 2018, just prior to the start of the festival, allowing you to enjoy plenty of celebratory drams in the days following graduation.
Springbank Whisky School
Length of study: 5 days
Tuition: £1,200 ($1,550)
The production team at Springbank Distillery are your professors for a full five-day school week. Springbank’s comprehensive approach includes floor malting and bottling, so you get hands-on with every part of the process. Pay attention: there will be a test. Following a final session with 50-year industry veteran Frank McHardy, you’ll need to pass it to earn your degree—there’s no coasting by at Springbank. Pricing includes nearby accommodations and daily lunch. The school is held weekly from mid-May to the start of July.
Strathearn Distillery Five-Day Whisky School
Length of study: 5 days
Tuition: £840 ($1,085)
Learning each step of their production process at Strathearn Distillery means being an active part of the team. Show some ambition and who knows how far you’ll go: current distiller and master of wood David Hogg attended the school before landing his gig. Having helped with everything from mashing to cask filling, you’ll have earned your own 2-liter cask of whisky in addition to your certificate. Shorter three-day (£390/$500) and single-day (£145/$190) programs are also available.
Prices are approximate. Visit the distillery school website for current pricing and details.