Despite being a relatively small country, Wales is well known for a few different things. The land of song, where history blends with myths and legends, where the language of the ancient Britons still resonates, and beautiful verdant landscapes are populated by more sheep than people, and dramatic coastlines are dotted with medieval castles. In fact, Wales has more castles per square mile than any other country in Europe! 

But now we can officially add one more entry to that list of things Wales is known for... Welsh whisky.

A wee dram...atic?

Whisky made in Wales has now been given protected status. It is the first spirit to receive geographical indication (GI) status since UKGI was launched in 2021.  

UKGI was set up after Brexit to ensure certain UK foods and drinks could secure legal protection against imitation after the UK's withdrawal from the EU, which runs its own scheme.

Four distilleries will benefit from the designation: Penderyn, In the Welsh Wind, Da Mhile and Coles. Penderyn's Stephen Davies said that gaining the status was a "significant milestone" that will "assist in safeguarding both the quality of the product and also its source of origin".

Welsh whisky is exported to over 45 countries, and the spirit is expected to generate £23m this year. A wee drop in the ocean for now, perhaps, but it has a promising future. 

It isn't the first Welsh food or drink product to be granted special status either. In fact, the BBC reports that 20 food and drinks have been officially protected in Wales, including Anglesey Sea Salt, Caerphilly Cheese, Carmarthen Ham, Conwy Mussels, Denbigh Plum, Pembrokeshire Early Potatoes, Welsh Laverbread, West Wales Coracle Caught Sewin and Salmon, as well as Welsh wine, cider, leeks, beef, lamb and pork.

Therese Coffey, UK Food and Farming Secretary, said awarding the Welsh whisky UKGI status "shows how the UK government is ready to get behind the best of British food and drink from across the nation - to boost sales at home and abroad, create jobs and grow our economy".

A 'rarebit' of good news

With the UK economy remaining stubbornly flat - and I'll avoid saying it's 'on the rocks' - it's great to see Welsh whisky securing its place on the map!  

Llongyfarchiadau (congratulations)

I'll drink to that.