There is some evidence that the Welsh practised distillation as early as the Fourth century. Allegedly, Reaullt Hir distilled on Bardsey Island around this time. The early drink was distilled from barley, yeast and honey.
The Welsh Whisky Company was founded in 1998 and the first spirit ran from the stills of the Penderyn Distillery in September of 2000. The locality is rather beautiful, sitting in the Brecon Beacons National Park. The first whisky was launched on St David’s Day, 1st March 2004. The wash is brought in from S A Brain & Co, a beer brewer.
The standard bottling is matured in Evan Williams and Jack Daniel’s whiskey casks and finished in Madeira casks. There have been more recent releases, a Sherry Wood and a peated offering. In June of 2008 a visitor centre was opened by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. The distillery also produces a liqueur, vodka and gin.
Excitingly, Penderyn continues to grow – in 2014, an expansion to the distillery was put in motion, with a pair of pot stills, a copper pot still and mashing facilities being commissioned. Two new distilleries are opening soon, one in the north and one in Swansea in the south, and it has began to make serious inroads into the export market – having recently gone into China, Japan, Russia and the US.