Single Malt Welsh Whisky is one of Wales’ most popular spirits and July 2023 saw it secure PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) UK GI status, joining its Scottish and Irish counterparts.
Established in 2021, the UK GI scheme followed the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and sees certain foods and drinks guarded against imitation and misuse with legal protection.
Counterfeit whisky has been an issue for a number of years within the devolved nations, with lab tests from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre in 2018 finding around £635,000 worth of fake Scotch whisky alone on the market.
In Wales, Aber Falls is the latest to receive PGI status and joins fellow Welsh distilleries, Penderyn, In the Welsh Wind, Da Mhile, and Coles.
The distillery’s first whisky was released in May 2021, with its current whisky launched just a few months later. Today this whisky is exported to 40 countries.
May 2021 also saw the company open its visitor centre, offering tours and gin lab experiences, as well as boasting a café and retail area.
Since then, it has expanded the distillery in Abergwyngregyn, rolling out a 24-hour production in January this year. The company also has a bottling hall in Bangor, along with three maturation warehouses in the city.
The bottling process had previously been a “stumbling block”, the distillery’s general manager Carole Jones said. Last year, this moved to England as a result of recruitment struggles.
“We pulled out all the stops and re-opened our bottling hall in early September; ticking that final box,” explained Jones.
“We are now in full swing, with our Single Malt Welsh Whisky being bottled in Bangor for our export and UK markets.”
Rural Affairs Minister, Lesley Griffiths visited the company yesterday (5 October) to offer her congratulations. Speaking on the announcement, she said: “Wales’ whisky sector has expanded quickly in recent years and is enjoyed by people around the world.
“The PGI status is a prestigious one and I am pleased Aber Falls’ product is receiving the recognition it deserves.”
Elsewhere, drinks company Britvic has completed the acquisition of four Brazilian beverage brands.