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Cheers to Welsh whisky: Single malt awarded UK's official protection origin status

Welsh whisky joins exclusive club: Now protected under UK's post-Brexit regime
Welsh whisky joins exclusive club: Now protected under UK's post-Brexit regime Copyright Canva images
Copyright Canva images
By Theo Farrant
Published on Updated
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Raise your glasses and let's toast to Welsh whisky, as it joins lamb, cider and leeks in receiving the UK's special protected origin status.

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Welsh whisky has obtained Protected Geographical Indication (UK GI) status, a recognition previously granted to its Scottish and Irish counterparts. 

The UK GI scheme, established two years after Brexit, ensures legal protection against imitation and misuse for certain food and drink products. 

This move leaves English malt as the only UK variant without official protection.

The single malt from four distilleries in south and west Wales, namely Coles, Da Mhile, In the Welsh Wind, and Penderyn, has been awarded the protected geographical indication status. 

Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales, and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths, has expressed her delight for all those involved in achieving this prestigious status. 

"I am very pleased for all those involved in gaining this prestigious status and ensures this fantastic product gains the recognition and prestige it deserves," Griffiths said. 

Malt whisky distilled in Wales joins 19 other food and drinks items in receiving official UK GI protection, including Welsh wine, cider, leeks, Carmarthen Ham and Anglesey Sea Salt. 

Back in 2021, south Wales led the way, with Gower lamb being the first British product to gain recognition under the scheme. 

Later that year, lamb from the Cambrian mountains also received the same recognition.

Wales' whisky renaissance

Courtesy: Penderyn
Interior shot of Penderyn Brecon Beacons DistilleryCourtesy: Penderyn

In recent years, Wales' whisky industry has experienced rapid expansion, thanks to the revival and relaunch of the 'Single Malt Welsh Whisky' by the Penderyn distillery on 1 March 2004. 

As a result, the demand for this premium product has been consistently increasing year after year.

The chief executive of the award-winning Penderyn distillery, Stephen Davies, hails it as a "significant milestone" for the Welsh whisky industry.

He adds, "It’s an exciting step forward and one that puts focus on an industry that has been growing steadily over the last 20 year."

The presence of single malt Welsh whisky has made a significant impact on the country's food and drink economy and has earned its place as one of Wales' most influential exports, with distribution to over 45 countries worldwide.

Based on current projections, the product is expected to achieve impressive financial results in the ongoing financial year, generating an estimated revenue of £23 million (€26.6 million) through a combination of domestic, export, and travel retail sales.

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