'Distilling in Wales was a lost art...'
Penderyn produce award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits at their distillery on the foothills of the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales, UK.
Distilling in Wales was a lost art, but in the late 1990s, in a Hirwaun pub in the Welsh valleys, Alun Evans the landlord and a group of friends chatted about establishing the first whisky distillery in Wales in over a century. They dreamt of creating a whisky as pure and precious as Welsh gold, represented today by Penderyn’s ‘gold seam’.
The village of Penderyn was chosen because of the site’s own supply of fresh natural spring water, and the fact that the Alun had a wine warehouse in the village.
A unique copper single-pot still designed by Dr David Faraday, a relative of the great 19th-century scientist Michael Faraday, was installed in 2000, which produces a spirit at an industry high of 92%, meaning Penderyn's whiskies are light, fruity and flavoursome.
This business seemed a curiosity - a Welsh whisky? - but when the Scottish whisky expert, Dr Jim Swan, became our Master Distiller, things got serious. Dr Swan got involved because he said the still created a world class spirit. He said we should finish in Madeira casks, so this became our house style. This quickly advanced to sherry casks, peated casks, port casks, and a number of other casks used for finishing. Nigel Short invested in the business, bringing Stephen Davies in as CEO, and the distinguished drinks designer Glenn Tutssel also became involved, who created the brand design.
On St David’s Day 2004 Penderyn whisky was launched in the presence of HRH Prince Charles. An expansion in 2013/14 included a replica of the Faraday Still, and two lantern stills being installed.
With investment, inspiration, hard work, attention to detail, the finest barley, expert female distillers and the best American oak bourbon casks, Penderyn Whisky has quickly gained a worldwide reputation for its range of whiskies, winning over 100 Double Gold/Gold/Masters awards en route. Today Penderyn is now very much part of the world whisky conversation, and is available in over 50 countries, including key markets in France, Germany, USA and China. Indeed only around 7/8 countries were distilling whisky in 2000, and now most countries do, so Penderyn really was a pioneer in the world whisky industry.
Penderyn is a privately owned company, with over 60 shareholders. As a result of the company's progress, a new distillery opened in Llandudno North Wales in May 2021, and a further distillery is planned for Swansea, in South Wales, in the summer of 2023.
From Wales to the world...