A Chief Executive who helped build Penderyn whisky into one of Wales’ leading brands is to talk about work, whisky – and the company’s plans for North Wales –in a university lecture this month.

Stephen Davies, CEO of Penderyn, will be giving the lecture at Wrexham Glyndwr University’s Nick Whitehead Theatre on January 28.

During the talk, he will discuss how the Penderyn brand was built, how the company’s original distillery site, in the Brecon Beacons, proved a major tourism draw – and how they expect their new North Wales distillery, set to open in Llandudno in 2021 after a £5 million investment, to welcome even more visitors.

Penderyn spokesman Jon Tregenna said: “During his lecture Stephen will talk about the history of Penderyn and how the business has grown over the last 20 years, and also talk about the new Llandudno distillery.

“He has been with Penderyn since 2005, which was a year after they first started bottling.

“The Visitor Centre has always been an important part of the business, as nothing markets the brand as much as tasting the whisky and we saw over 43,000 visitors in 2019.

“Penderyn and Wales are embedded together.

“When we go out into the world we talk about Wales as that is one of our points of difference to Scotch and Irish whiskies.

“Penderyn has become an iconic Welsh brand, but it’s hard to manufacture that – it comes from an honest approach, a great product, a positive outlook, social media presence and an awareness of what is going on in Wales.”

Having developed their brand over two decades, the company are now looking to build their presence across Wales.

Discussions about the proposals for their Llandudno site at a tourism conference piqued the interest of Dr Marcus Hansen, Programme Leader for Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

He said: “When I heard of Penderyn’s plans for North Wales, I was really excited – they are a great addition to North Wales’ food and drink tourism offering and very good news for the industry regionally.

“I spoke to Stephen straight away to invite him to Glyndwr to tell our students, staff, and visitors more – and I’m really looking forward to welcoming him here at the end of the month!”

With the proposals for Llandudno well underway, tourism professionals, students, and members of the public at the lecture will be able to hear more about the way Penderyn hope to build their brand in North Wales – as well as some tips for students hoping to develop careers in food and drink tourism.

Jon added: “Our Llandudno distillery will have a Visitor Centre and that will be vitally important.

“We anticipate seeing well above the numbers we see in our Brecon Beacons distillery as Llandudno is a tourist resort, and our current distillery has very little public transport – a bus every 2 hours!

“Hopefully a lot of our visitors will be people who might not ordinarily visit Llandudno – whisky fans from Manchester and Liverpool, for example – so by increasing footfall in the town it should help other businesses. “

And for those looking to break into the industry, Jon’s advice is to get to know their region well – something which Glyndwr’s Tourism, Hospitality and Events Management degree seeks to instil in all its students.

Jon added: “I think that graduates interested in Food & Drink Tourism should have a strong feel for the area they promote, and a passion to push things through. A creative use of language and being able to communicate easily is also essential.

“Penderyn has become a major brand and it’d be great to create tie-ins with the university across a variety of platforms, such as business, food hygiene – and maybe, one day, there might be a distilling degree?”

The free lecture by Mr Davies will be held at Wrexham Glyndwr University’s Plas Coch Campus on Mold Road between 11.30am and 1pm on Tuesday, January 28 and is open to the general public and industry professionals as well as Glyndwr students.

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