Welsh whisky striving for protected status

Distillers in Wales are rallying together to establish a set of production rules in order for Welsh whisky to be given protected status following the UK’s exit from the EU this month.

John Buchanan, head distiller (left) and James Wright, managing director (right) observing the first rye whisky distillation

Draft rules on what makes a ‘Welsh whisky’ have been drawn up by Aber Falls and shared among distillers in Wales. In order to achieve a protected status similar Scotch, there would need to be an stricter agreement on exactly how it’s made and the ingredients used, which is currently not happening in Wales.

Welsh whisky is striving for PGI status

Best known for its gin production, Aber Falls has its first batch of Welsh whisky reaching maturity in 2021, which is set to hit the market at the end of March.

James Wright, managing director at Aber Falls told db: “The Welsh government is keen to try and put a PGI in place for us. We’ve written an initial draft that’s gone round to all of the distillers, looking at the different production aspects within our whiskies.

“We all have different criteria that we feel would benefit the Welsh whisky category and we want to keep flexibility while making sure there are still some cues in there that make us stand out within the marketplace.

“The ball is rolling for potentially receiving protection this year. But, our ultimate priority and our vision is to create a great tasting whisky that’s historic and has global distribution, which will drive the Welsh whisky category. The PGI will help to do that and strengthen our quality.”

Virginia Crosbie, MP for Anglesey, added: “I am thrilled that the quality of Welsh food is being recognised globally as well as nationally.

“In order to mark the enhanced quality of these goods, it is vital that we continue to give them the geographical indicators that inform customers nationally and internationally of their first-class standard.”

In response, UK food and rural affairs minister Victoria Prentis said she wanted the new UK PGI schemes to “to showcase our great British products”.

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