To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Welsh distillery Penderyn has announced the opening of a new flagship in the historic town of Llandudno in Northern Wales. The new location commenced operations on May 17, 2021 and will open to the public on June 1, 2021. Penderyn Llandudno joins the company’s original Brecon Beacons location producing the award-winning whisky credited with reviving the industry in Wales after a hundred-year absence. The new Llandudno location features a signature single-column Faraday still – which produces a whisky at an industry high of 92% ABV and is key to the delicate spirit that is the Penderyn signature – and for the first time in Welsh history will produce peated barley single malt whisky.
Penderyn’s expansion into Northern Wales marks the ongoing evolution of the brand. Last year, Penderyn exceeded annual spirit sales of one million bottles for the first time and was awarded its biggest-ever gold medal haul at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition – Double Gold and two Gold Medals.
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.”
Llandudno is a Victorian seaside resort town on the North Wales coast and a major tourist attraction for its charming pier, funicular railway, numerous hotels, and stunning promenade that runs along the Irish sea for nearly two miles. It is believed Llandudno and its surroundings were the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, whose real-life titular character, Alice Liddell, and family frequently vacationed in the town.
Penderyn’s new flagship is housed within a landmarked building, the Old Board School, which dates back to 1887, and until recently served as the Conwy Council archive. With an investment of £5 million (approximately US$7.09 million) the building has been transformed into a world-class distillation site, housing traditional pot stills, one of Penderyn’s signature Faraday stills, and a spacious visitor center and tasting bar designed to welcome approximately 60,000 guests per year.
Under the supervision of Commissioning Distiller Bethan Morgans, the new distillery is projected to produce one-third of Penderyn’s yearly output. It will become the first distillery in Wales to be fully dedicated to producing peated single malt whiskey. Underscoring its commitment to crafting a product that celebrates and reflects the heritage and history of Wales and its local setting, whisky produced in Llandudno will be distilled using natural spring water supplied from a reservoir that once served the Victorian Lighthouse on the mythic Great Orme Headland that is synonymous with the town.
Penderyn’s Director of Operations, Neil Quigley, has been pivotal to getting the new Llandudno distillery open on time, carefully navigating the COVID-19 protocols of the past year. He says, “Since its inception three 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.” The re-imagining of the historic building was done in partnership with Mold-based MPH Construction and Michael Kavanagh, Development Director of Short Bros Homes, who together oversaw the restoration of the existing structure, as well as the addition of an architecturally stunning modern glass-and-steel extension that welcomes visitors to the new distillery.
As Penderyn looks to the future – and a third location in Swansea in 2022 – it is working with the UK Government to enshrine 70 Welsh Geographical Indicators (GIs) as hallmarks of the unique production process of Welsh Whisky. This will ensure that all distillates bearing the designation ‘Welsh Whisky’ reflect the quality of the products associated with the destination, while establishing them as unique exports in the competitive world whisky market.
To schedule a visit, head over to the Penderyn official website.
Earlier this year, we caught up with Master Blender Aista Phillips to discuss the 2021 Penderyn Single Cask Whiskies.