FOR 20 years, Penderyn Distillery – The Welsh Whisky Company – based in the Brecon Beacons, South Wales has been working to bring back the spirit of the original Welsh Whisky distillery at Frongoch, near Bala, which closed over 100 years ago after receiving a royal warrant from Queen Victoria in July 1895.
The distillery closed mainly due to Prohibition.
That Welsh spirit is well and truly back, as last year Penderyn had its biggest ever gold medal haul at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
That gold run is continuing with Penderyn – despite continued and sometimes difficult coronavirus restrictions – about to produce its own liquid gold at their new £5 million Lloyds Street distillery in North Wales tourist mecca, the wonderful town of Llandudno.
Penderyn has expanded its operation with the opening on Monday, May 17, 2021 of their second distillery, in the Grade II listed Old Board School built in 1887, and latterly in the Conwy Council archive, which became available in 2020.
A £1.4 million Welsh Government grant from the ‘Tourism Investment Scheme’ and the ‘Food Business Investment scheme’ has made the vision of Penderyn’s new distillery a reality.
A new Faraday still (unique to Penderyn) has been installed and has been readied for production by Penderyn’s Commissioning Distiller Bethan Morgans, which will focus, for the first time in Welsh history, on peated barley single malt whisky. Whisky, by law, has to be in a barrel for 3 years and a day, so we will have to wait quite a while to taste it, but, even though it’s a peated whisky, it will have Penderyn’s characteristics – light, fruity, flavoursome whiskies.
Penderyn’s Director of Operations, Neil Quigley, has been pivotal to getting the new Llandudno distillery open on time. He says: “Since its inception 3 years ago, this has been a hugely exciting and challenging project. I’m pleased to have kept this remarkable renovation on time and on track.” Mold-based MPH Construction have added the modern glazed extension to the back of the building, while Michael Kavanagh, Development Director of Short Bros Homes, has been critical in supporting the renovation as Project Manager.
Welsh Liquid Gold to 45 Countries
With exports of ‘Welsh Liquid Gold’ to more than now 45 countries, Wales is now well and truly on the map of World whiskies to watch.
According to Penderyn Distillery’s CEO, Stephen Davies, “Penderyn has always had a loyal following in North Wales”.
“But with the South separated from the North by mountains and lakes, Penderyn has finally brought the country together”.
“By opening in Llandudno, visited by 9.6 million tourists every year, we’re saying ‘Welcome home to Wales and to Penderyn’.
Tours of Penderyn’s new distillery in Lloyd Street, Llandudno will commence from the 1st June 2021 and the booking system will be live by the middle of May. These will initially be restricted to 8 visitors per tour, rather than the usual 20, due to social distancing. The annual estimate of 60,000 tourists is currently being restricted to 20,000, until the aforementioned social-distancing measures are lifted.
70 Welsh Geographical Indicators
As global expansion continues, Penderyn has been working with the UK Government to enshrine 70 Welsh Geographical Indicators (GIs) in terms of the unique production process of Welsh Whisky. And during the pandemic, Penderyn produced Hand Sanitiser for use in the NHS and for Transport for Wales.
“Penderyn’s distilleries have brought together North and South Wales, from our Brecon Beacons Headquarters to this new Llandudno Lloyd St distillery,” says Davies. “We look forward to taking Penderyn to even newer heights when Penderyn opens a third distillery in the Swansea Hafod Copperworks development. The finest spirit rises to the top, and at Penderyn we are always continuing to innovate and develop our business.”
According to Owner and Director of Penderyn Distillery, Nigel Short: “‘From the very start of our journey at Penderyn over 20 years ago we have received great support from the people and businesses of North Wales. It is with huge pleasure that we are opening our new distillery and visitor centre in the heart of Llandudno. Our special thanks go to all at Conwy Council who were so welcoming and instrumental in helping to deliver a very special building restoration and attraction, one we hope will make everyone proud.”
The new distillery in Llandudno will be managed by Local resident, Dafydd Pesic-Smith.