UK-based drinks distributor Halewood International has submitted plans to open what could become only the third whisky distillery in Wales.
If approved Halewood’s distillery would become only the third in Wales to be producing whisky
The Liverpool-based drinks firm submitted the proposal to Gwynedd Council on 22 December, detailing plans to build on the site of Aber Depot in Abergwyngregyn – the company’s former wholesale distribution site.
The plans include a visitor centre alongside training courses in the craft of distilling spirits, with the 6,000 square foot warehouse set to be converted into a distillery following what the company described a “substantial” investment.
“We’re still in the early stages but it’s an exciting project that we feel has great potential as there are very few distilleries in Wales”, said James Wright, managing director of Aber Falls Distillery.
Halewood’s current portfolio includes West Cork Malt Irish Whiskey, The Pogues Irish Whiskey and Red Square Vodka. While the proposed distillery would also produce Welsh gin and “other alcoholic drinks”, it would become only the third distillery in Wales to produce whisky, and the first in northern Wales for over 100 years.
Only this year was the country officially declared a “whisky-producing nation”, following the first bottling of a whisky at the Dà Mhìle Distillery – which was only the second distillery in Wales.
Under European Union legislation, a country can only can only market itself as a whisky-producing nation if it has at least two distilleries producing and marketing whisky.
The expression to give Wales “whisky” status was Dà Mhìle Single Grain Welsh Whisky, an organic single grain NAS release aged in ex-Bourbon casks.
Prior to the opening of Dà Mhìle in west Wales, Penderyn was the only distillery in Wales, which was established in 2000 by the Welsh Whisky Company Ltd and at the time was the first whisky distillery in Wales for over a century. Penderyn is now preparing to open a second site in Swansea.
If approved, Halewood hopes the new distillery will begin operations in 2018. It follows a number if acquisition by the drinks firm, which last year acquired a number of spirit brands including Liverpool Gin, Liverpool Rum and a 50% stake in The Pogues Irish Whiskey, which it already distributed in the UK.