SINGLE Malt Welsh Whisky, a cherished spirit with a rich history dating back to 1887, has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first new spirit to be officially registered under the UK Geographical Indication (UKGI) scheme since its inception in 2021. The UKGI scheme was established as a measure following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to safeguard specific food and drink products from imitation and misuse.
The commendable achievement came about through a joint effort by four Welsh distilleries – Penderyn, In the Welsh Wind, Da Mhile, and Coles – who collectively applied for the UKGI status to protect the authenticity and heritage of Single Malt Welsh Whisky.
Becoming the 20th member of the Welsh GI “family,” the whisky now joins a distinguished list of protected Welsh produce, including Anglesey Sea Salt, Gower Salt March Lamb, Welsh Beef, and Welsh Leeks.
The announcement of the registration was made by the Defra secretary, Therese Coffey, at the prestigious Royal Welsh Show on July 24. In her statement, she expressed her delight in recognizing the unique qualities of Single Malt Welsh Whisky, stating, “Single Malt Welsh Whisky is widely acclaimed for its lightness of character and I am pleased to announce it will be the first protected spirit under our UKGI scheme. It shows how the UK government is ready to get behind the best of British food and drink from across the nation – to boost sales at home and abroad, create jobs and grow our economy.”
The UKGI status holds immense significance for the distillers and consumers alike. Welsh secretary David TC Davies highlighted that this recognition would facilitate the global marketing of this “fantastic product,” ensuring consumers worldwide are assured they are purchasing an entirely authentic and unique whisky, meticulously crafted and bottled in Wales.
Single Malt Welsh Whisky’s production has witnessed rapid expansion in recent years, particularly since Penderyn distillery revived and relaunched the product in March 2004. The whisky, which is made using malted barley and water of 100% Welsh origin, has gained international popularity and is currently exported to more than 45 countries.
In terms of its economic impact, Single Malt Welsh Whisky plays a significant role in the food and drink economy of Wales. With a projected revenue of £23 million in the current financial year from domestic, export, and travel retail sales, it is a crucial contributor to the Welsh economy.
This recognition under the UKGI scheme not only protects the heritage and integrity of Single Malt Welsh Whisky but also enhances its reputation as a true representation of Welsh craftsmanship, with a taste that captivates whisky enthusiasts around the world.