• Charmaine Crasto

A boon of the barrels: Paul John Visitor Centre, Goa


Paul John Visitor Centre-Goa

The exquisite state of Goa, well known for its tropical climate, beaches, food and welcoming people has another feather to its hat, The John Distilleries. Set up in 1996, John Distilleries, within a decade, developed into a thriving spirit company, not just in India but all around the world. Mr. Paul P John, the man who paved the path for the success to follow, has built a strong legacy of brands that include whiskies, brandy and wines. The Paul John Indian Single Malts, are globally recognized by their penetration into the highest strata of world whiskey.

To reach such groundbreaking heights was no meager task, but Paul P John’s vision to greatness was what drove him to glory. The idea was to create a single malt that would overshadow even the highest and truest of existing brands. It was the guidance and skills of distiller Michael D’souza that aided in John’s journey and gave it the edge it required to reach the highest levels of prosperity. The final product of this labour was as flavorful as the Great Indian Single Malt it birthed. Today, within a short span of just over a decade, John’s reach spread from his headquarters in Bangalore, Karnataka to neighbouring states and across seas, out of which Goa has the Paul John visitors center which is a must visit on a trip to this beautiful tropical region.

John Distilleries is also the manufacturer of the world's sixth-largest whisky brand - Original Choice Whisky. Paul John, a single malt whisky from John Distilleries, has been gaining a reputation in the niche market. Its other major brands include Bangalore Malt, Black Pelican Fine Whisky, Mont Castle French Grape Brandy and Big Banyan Wines. Sazerac, the second-largest family-owned spirits company in the US, has taken a strategic investment in John Distilleries. It was Paul P John’s desire to surpass the ordinary that led him to create a range of exceptional award-winning single malts, fine whiskies & wines.

The John Distilleries have a legacy of their own, and today people like you and I can have the opportunity of experiencing the magic of the exquisite nature of the international award-winning Indian whisky specifically on the tropical shores of Goa. Hence, making the Paul John Visitors Centre located at the Cuncolim Industrial Estate in South Goa a must visit on a trip to Goa. It was from the year 2019 that the distillery in Goa started offering whiskey tastings and tours for tourists and natives by well informed and experienced guides. Local artist Bianca has set the tone of the distillery by beautifully decorating it with vibrant paintings exhibiting a strong Goan link. The Cafe and merchandise store has made the distillery into an exciting and fun place to visit for both family and larger group gatherings.

Oak barrels holding whisky

A whiskey lover? Well, then this place is a must visit as it provides a beautiful experience that mimics one that you would receive in Scotland, but in India. Furthermore it is one of the only distilleries in India that offers tastings and tours of their products which makes the whole experience worth the while. The tour of the distillery will enlighten you on the machinery used, the prolonged whiskey making procedure, and the enticing use of oak barrels used to distill whisky. And all this knowledge comes first hand from people involved directly in the producing process, what more could one ask for?

Along with holding a special place in Mr. Paul John’s heart, Goa was also chosen as a prime location for setting up one of the John Distilleries because of its oddly different micro-climate. Beaches, great food and music made Goa the perfect destination for a malt plant, especially the visitors centre that followed later. Furthermore, the rain water and the uninterrupted flowing water through the Western Ghats made Goa the perfect location for the manufacture of one of the worlds best single malts as water is one of the most important ingredients that goes into the making of a whiskey.

The Paul John Visitors Centre has a lot to offer, and would make it to the top 10 places to visit on any itinerary of either South Goa or the entire state of Goa. Additional details on timings and costs of tour are available on their website.

Viva!