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Welsh distilleries?

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Welsh distilleries?

Postby Mr Fjeld » Tue Jan 16, 2007 9:53 am

I remember reading in an earlier issue of whiskymag that several of the american distilleries were established by welsh immigrants bringing the skills of distillation. Assuming there used to be several welsh distilleries the natural question is: where did they all go and what happened that made them disappear?
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Postby kallaskander » Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:10 am

Hi there,

hi Christian that statement might be a bit far fetched.

http://www.smws.co.uk/archives/article. ... article=30

That is not the only source of information about Welsh distilleries of course.

http://www.celticmalts.com/journal-a22.htm



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Postby Mr Fjeld » Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:56 pm

Thanks for your effort kallaskander! I read your (interesting) sources and it seems there exist very little written history about welsh distilleries. I did get the impression that distilling was widespread though - much like illegal distilling before it became legal in Scotland.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Tue Jan 16, 2007 3:35 pm

Quite possible that there were many Welsh distilleries but would have been hard for them to survive the taxation burdens of the 17-19th centuries as Wales would have been more regulated than Scotland as it was probably an easier task.

In all fairness only for Alfred Barnard we'd probably know even less. It was thought that there were between 300-400 distilleries in Ireland at one stage but even Bernard had documented only the circa 30 working Distilleries of the time in the 1880's.

Further, Brian Townsend in his book 'Lost Distilleries of Ireland' only documented circa 50 distilleries.

In his book he located Excise records from 1802 that listed 117 distilleries (or whiskey producing stills)

By 1822 these same records only listed 35 distilleries.

Townsend was unable to get any historical facts on well over half of the 117 listed in 1802.

The rest are local legend or lost to history.

Anything pre 1800's is not very well documented.

Remember also that Ireland during 18 & early1900's totally dominated the world whiskey markets and Dublin’s close proximity to Wales with its seaport and Wales being the recipient of a huge amount of whiskey traffic would have made short work of any Welsh whiskey company as a business concern. This was due to the massive capacity and quality of whiskey from the four big Dublin distilleries which could not be matched.

It is therefore very plausible then that any distilleries in Wales may have been non registered distilleries just to try and make a small profit and only supply a local market. This would also make it perfectly believable that many Welsh distilleries did not officially exist and could easily disappear totally from factual History.


Please beaware that I am only surmising about why the Welsh do not have much of a Whisky Distilling history from a reasonable logical point of view.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:14 pm

irishwhiskeychaser wrote: Remember also that Ireland during 18 & early1900's totally dominated the world whiskey markets and Dublin’s close proximity to Wales with its seaport and Wales being the recipient of a huge amount of whiskey traffic would have made short work of any Welsh whiskey company as a business concern. This was due to the massive capacity and quality of whiskey from the four big Dublin distilleries which could not be matched.

It is therefore very plausible then that any distilleries in Wales may have been non registered distilleries just to try and make a small profit and only supply a local market. This would also make it perfectly believable that many Welsh distilleries did not officially exist and could easily disappear totally from factual History.


Please beaware that I am only surmising about why the Welsh do not have much of a Whisky Distilling history from a reasonable logical point of view.

Interesting reading IWC! I didn't even think about the dominating role Irish whisky had on the major markets back then! Good for Irland that they didn't share the same fate as welsh whisky distilleries. I think your points are probably very relevant and fully answers my questions.
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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:26 pm

Mr Fjeld wrote:
.... Good for Irland that they didn't share the same fate as welsh whisky distilleries......



.... and the scary thing is that it could of very easily happened. Only for the fact that Jameson's, Powers and Paddy (Midleton) were so big was the only reason they survived and could only do so by amalgamating in the end. Bushmills had a slightly safer trip through the bad times because it remained in the UK (as it is still today).

Unfortunately it had a very negative on the whole Irish whiskey industry as a whole which has yet to fully recover.
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Postby kallaskander » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:31 pm

Hi there,

which is not very likely iwc under foreign rule.

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Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Tue Jan 16, 2007 4:44 pm

kallaskander wrote:Hi there,

which is not very likely iwc under foreign rule.

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True .... Irish Distillers did everything in their power to try and kill off Cooley when they appeared on the scene but luckily did not succeed however Cooley are still a long way behind Irish Distillers.

However now that Bushmills is seperate from Irish Distillerys it may help things but in all fairness Irish whiskey is totally small fry. The Sottish Whisky industry are the main men and I cannot seeing that ever changing ... well in my life time anyway.
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Postby Mr Fjeld » Tue Jan 16, 2007 6:53 pm

Does this mean we can expect more pure pot still whiskies in the future?
I for one wouldn't mind that as the ones I've tasted are among the absolute top whiskies I tried.
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Postby kallaskander » Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:56 am

Hi there,

not that there wouldn`t be much pure pot still whiskey around. They are made for blending every day and have been made for years. It is only unlikely that Pernod will allow them to be bottled as pure pot still as they make their big money with the Irish blends.

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Postby Mr Fjeld » Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:38 am

kallaskander wrote:Hi there,

not that there wouldn`t be much pure pot still whiskey around. They are made for blending every day and have been made for years. It is only unlikely that Pernod will allow them to be bottled as pure pot still as they make their big money with the Irish blends.

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And that's just so sad :( It's not that there's anything wrong with Irish blends - they are very good and some even better than many scottish single malts (Jameson 12yo).
However - correct me if I'm wrong - but the only pure pot still whiskies available is the Redbreast 12 and 15 and the Greenspot (Jameson 15 not available any longer) ? And my problem is that the only one available here is the otherwise excellent Redbreast 12.

Well, one can always hope they realise that the increasing global interest in single malts would affect pure pot still whiskies as well.
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Postby kallaskander » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:08 pm

Hi there,

that about sums it up. However, some bottles of Jamesons 15 pps were found in Germany some time ago and some whisky retailers still have it here. Price about 120.- € plus shipping.

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