Guest Blog: Diota
"The artisan alcohol scene in Wales is flourishing. This plethora of production not only satisfies the taste buds of drinkers but is of great value to our Welsh small business sector too. SMEs are increasingly accounting for the majority of enterprises in Wales and local alcohol production is at its heart. The majority of food and drink business units in Wales (85%) are micro and employ fewer than 10 people. This substantial growth in small, often family-run operators, contribute £361m to the Welsh economy and immeasurable value to those of us who enjoy a tipple or two.
At its core, we have the glowing growth of Gin. In 2012, there was just one gin distillery in Wales – in the form of Penderyn. Six were created in 2015, and we’re now up to around 17 with four new distilleries opening in 2017 alone.
So what is it about Gin and the Welsh?
In my view, it is intricately tied to our landscape and that which blossoms along our coast and hillsides. The process of making gin has two key stages. The first is focussed on the making of the base rough spirit which is then repeatedly distilled to be strengthened and purified. But the drink truly comes to its own in the second stage, with the addition of the magic ingredients making Welsh Gins so special:
Here, the base spirit is redistilled with botanicals bringing out each batch’s unique flavour. The majority of Welsh Gins are intimately tied to their locality. Producers carefully choose subtle combinations of botanicals to flow through the spirits which give you an authentic taste of the area. Aber Falls gin blends botanicals from Rhaeadr Fawr-the famous Aber Falls waterfall and Dà Mhile sprinkles seaweed from New Quay into its small-batch gin. It’s the botanicals from the Gower’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that infuses GŴYR, and how about the purity of mountain water to bring out the flavours of the slate quarries of Dinorwig in the gorgeous Blue Slate Gin. I for one cannot think of a better way to pay homage to Welsh beauty and industry than with a glass of G&T.
Which takes me onto the T. There’s no Salt without Pepper, no Thelma without Louise, nor Batman without Robin, and certainly no Gin without Tonic. One of my favourite Welsh products is Llanllyr Source Tonic, drawn from the organic fields of Llanllyr near Lampeter in Ceredigion for over 800 years and the perfect partner in crime.
It’s not just a thrill for your taste buds though. Us Welsh have a good eye, and the aesthetic of these artisan batches are truly striking. These Gins get their vavavoom from the sophistry of packaging. They beautifully adorn many a shelf, mini bar, and drinks cupboard, and are the perfect addition to a stylish living room! Gwyr, Cygnet and Blue Slate Gin are my stylish favourites.
So there we have it. Welsh artisan Gin: good for the economy, the tastebuds and pleasing on the eye. How could we ever say “dim diolch”?!"