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Penderyn’s Stephen Davies is first chairman for CDA

By Dominic Roskrow

I am delighted to announce that Penderyn's managing director Stephen Davies has agreed to become chairman of the Craft Distillers' Alliance - and he's promising to take on an active role within the association.

The appointment caps an exciting few weeks for The CDA, which has doubled its membership to more than 30 members and now includes newly joined heavyweights Penderyn, Corsair, Tuthilltown, Amrut and Kilchoman - with at least three more big names poised to join.

Nowwe will be meeting to discuss a programmes of Autumn activities and events.

Here Stephen states why he took on the job.

“I’m delighted to be joining the Craft Distillers Alliance as Chairman and pleased that Dominic feels that both myself and Penderyn Distillery can contribute to the well-being and growth of the CDA going forward.

“It is certainly true that the Penderyn brand has advanced significantly over the last five years and we’ve encountered pretty much every pitfall in the business along the way. Our small distillery in ‘the Brecon Beacons, once nicknamed, (quite accurately at the time) as ‘a ratty shed’ by one visiting American journalist, these days has a more professional and brand focused feel about it although it’s still a very warm, welcoming and friendly place where the whisky tour is informal and relaxed. After all, we still only produce the equivalent of just a few barrels of whisky per day although that will change later in 2013.

“I joined Penderyn as managing director in 2004 having come from outside the industry and was pleased to find that there was no shortage of help and advice from others in the whisky world who clearly felt that new small and independent distilleries were a very welcome addition to the industry wherever they were located.

“That advice and encouragement was definitely there, albeit fragmented and I think that whilst our type of business adds a lot of colour and diversity to the industry landscape, the challenges of bringing a new distillery to life mustn’t be underestimated. There are so many obstacles from the technical through to the commercial, marketing and branding and not least cash flow and other financial summits to climb.

“So I hope that Penderyn’s experience alongside others in our group can assist friends and colleagues in the same or a similar position through the more structured approach of the Craft Distiller’s Alliance. I would have appreciated this type of more organised support myself back in 2004.

“So this year is one of transition at Penderyn as we install new whisky stills which will effectively triple production here in Wales, taking another big leap forward. I hope to have the chance to discuss a whole range of distilling and business issues with other members of the alliance as we build ‘new world’ whiskies into a world class distilling force with a reputation for quality, imagination and innovation.”