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International Women’s Day celebrated at Penderyn Distillery

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Penderyn Distillery, the home and birthplace of Welsh whisky, is proud to spotlight the remarkable journey and accomplishments of their all women distilling team lead by Laura Davies, Head Distiller and General Manager of Distilleries.

As a trailblazing woman forging new paths in the historically male-dominated spirits industry, Davies’ story is one of passion, dedication and excellence.

Davies’ journey with Penderyn began in 2012 when she joined the distillery straight out of university as a Trainee Distiller. From the very start, her finely-tuned senses and natural ability for nosing and tasting whisky was immediately evident. During the interview process, Davies completed a comprehensive sensory assessment, evaluating Penderyn’s new make spirit, maturing whisky and finished products. Her skills and vast potential were clear, marking the beginnings of what would become an illustrious career.

Under the guidance of her mentor, the world-renowned whisky expert Dr. Jim Swan, Davies spent her first five years at Penderyn truly immersing herself in the art and science of distillation. With Swan’s tutelage, she gained unparalleled expertise in every facet of whisky production from the intricacies of malt intake and mashing to distillation, maturation and finishing. This deep technical knowledge, combined with her impeccable sensory talents, laid the foundation for Davies’ meteoric rise at the distillery.

By 2016, Davies’ hard work, skills and leadership capabilities were rewarded when she was promoted to Distillery Manager, overseeing all operations at Penderyn’s main distillery in the Brecon Beacons National Park. For the next five years, she further honed her craft while managing the distillery team, ensuring the utmost in quality, safety standards and efficient production. Her efforts solidified Penderyn’s reputation for exceptional whisky making.

Then in 2021, Davies’ role expanded once again when she was appointed General Manager of Distilleries for the brand’s three distillery sites in Brecon Beacons, Llandudno and Swansea. In this critical leadership position, Davies is now responsible for the complete oversight and strategic direction of all distillery production and operations across Wales. Her areas of management encompass health and safety, technical operations, staffing, quality management, supply chain and logistics, as well as distillation innovation and experimentation with new spirit expressions.

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“What I find most rewarding is overseeing our entire process from malt intake to spirit draw and getting to assess the spirit quality at every stage to ensure it meets the exceptional Penderyn standard,” said Laura Davies. “By having quality at the forefront of everything we do, I can rest assured that the whisky we produce is of the absolute highest calibre.”

“Yet as rewarding as the technical distillery work is, I also love the brand ambassador aspect of my role,” Davies continued. “It’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to get out from behind the scenes and host whisky dinners and events, meet with customers at trade shows and engage with business visitors and VIPs who are eager to learn about our unique Welsh whiskies. The whisky industry is truly one-of-a-kind, full of so many passionate individuals who share my fascination for this craft. That vibrant sense of community and camaraderie makes every day an adventure.”

On this International Women’s Day, Penderyn Distillery raises a glass to the pioneering achievements of Laura Davies and all the trailblazing women who are shaping the future of the whisky industry. With her deep expertise and visionary leadership, Davies is not only guiding Penderyn to new heights of excellence, but also inspiring a new generation of women distillers, blenders and whisky makers around the world.

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