Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Welsh drinks producers come together


Welsh drinks producers came together recently to launch an organisation aimed at promoting all Welsh drinks.

I obviously know a thing or two about names as they liked my name so much they used it too, also calling the organisation Drinks Wales!

The aim is to create an ‘umbrella identity’ for all Welsh drinks producers overcoming what is a problem with the Welsh drinks industry, the relatively small scale of many producers very much in line with what I said here last year.

They are starting with a website and logo and have formed a board chaired by Brecon Brewing’s Buster Grant. Buster has been an erstwhile promoter of Welsh beer and I have no doubt will do a great job for Welsh drinks in general, especially with the help of a board made up of some key players from the different drink sectors.

drinks wales

Their mission statement is worth quoting in full as I’m sure it is one that all those who are passionate about Welsh drinks would subscribe to:

‘Drinks Wales aims to promote the manufacture, appreciation and consumption of Welsh-made alcoholic drinks products throughout the UK and beyond, and to provide a point of contact for those who wish to learn more about this.’

The main challenge Buster sees for the organisation is getting competitor companies to co-operate for the greater good. They currently have 35 companies signed up and that’s a good start.

The organisation is producer led and will provide a directory of producers and outlets, be involved in PR activity, work on drinks tourism, represent the industry at trade shows and much more. We can also expect to see some significant activity around St David’s Day next year.

The new organisation was launched by Alun Davies AM Minister for Natural Resources and Food at the Royal Welsh Show and he has been a strong supporter of the Welsh drinks industry since becoming a government minister.

This development is definitely a strong step in the right direction by the industry and I really hope that as many drinks producers as possible in Wales sign up and become members of the organisation. Joining together in this way unleashes the potential of the Welsh drinks industry and it is hoped opens the door to a bright future.

As Buster Grant said at the launch ‘the future promises to be an exciting place. It is time to add to Welsh Drinks to the pantheon of Welsh achievements, to gather in the recognition and respect so overdue, to gain acknowledgement of achievements and awards; a far greater strike rate per company in each sector than in any other part of the UK. Let’s raise a glass… to Drinks Wales’

Well this Drinks Wales couldn’t agree more and I’ll certainly raise a glass to that – iechyd da!

Purple Moose Expands


A further sign of the microbrewing boom in Wales comes from Purple Moose in Porthmadog.

Purple Moose started life back in 2005. The latest chapter in their history will see a major expansion project to alleviate capacity constraints in meeting current demand and to enable further expansion. They are boosting their brewing capacity from the current 10 barrel plant to 40 barrels by installing a brand new brewing plant.

Inside the brewery

Inside the brewery

This will allow Purple Moose to increase the availability of its award winning ales in Wales and other parts of Britain. It also means that it can start to export its bottled beers. The current plan is to increase the brewing of its current range of ales rather than add new beers. One result is that Ysgawen, an elderflower ale, will now be a regular year-round ale as opposed to a seasonal.

MD Lawrence Washington behind the stick

MD Lawrence Washington behind the stick

Financial assistance has come from Cyngor Gwynedd’s Local Investment Fund and one new job has been created immediately increasing the size of their sales team. The expansion is likely to create further new jobs in the future. All in all, very good news for brewing in Wales and for Porthmadog.



Big news in the Welsh drinks industry last week was Penderyn’s £1m investment.

What are they spending it on? Well, firstly, they are installing a second still akin to the original one. This is a bit different to the traditional pot still in that it is a pot with a column still on top and is a key part of what makes Penderyn unique. By adding a second still they can effectively double production and allow them to meet the demand in their core markets and target other markets in Europe, North America and Asia with their fabulous single malt.

Stephen Davies, MD of the company says that to meet demand they have to expand as they have hit production capacity with their single still. He goes on to say that “this is a significant milestone for us: ever since our first bottles hit the shelves in 2004 the quality of our products has shone through, helping us to grow the distillery into a company which sells single malt whisky all over the world. We’re already well distributed in the UK and are investing in new markets such as France and Germany, but expect to expand further throughout Europe. We have ambitions to explore further possibilities in North America and Asia on completion of the expansion project.”

This is a great sign for the company showing that they are doing well and are planning now for a forecasted increase in demand. Remember, whisky must age at least three years before it can be bottled so peering into the future isn’t a nice to do, in the whisky business it’s a must do!

But that’s not all, they are also installing a conventional two pot still plant. This they say will allow them to produce ‘new and creative styles and expressions of single malt’. Penderyn is a very high quality single malt, the thought of experimental styles and expressions is exciting indeed.

It’ll be a little while yet before they’re on stream and producing spirit as the as the partner to the current still is not being commissioned until August this year and the two pot still unit in January 2014. It will be very interesting in a few years time to compare the products of their pot and column still combination with the output of the two pot still plant.

Another point worthy of note is that the Welsh Government have supported this expansion, again showing that they are beginning to understand the potential of our drinks industry.

This is great news all round and will also be good for the Welsh drinks industry generally in that it pushes Welsh drinks to the forefront in more and more countries world wide.

Since day one Penderyn have gone for a quality product in quality packaging with quality branding. The last two are important but the first is paramount. Penderyn is a quality spirit and when allied with very good cask procurement and management the results are a whisky that holds its own on the world stage. Exciting times indeed for Welsh whisky.