The new £5 million Penderyn Distillery in Llandudno has been named North Wales’s top attraction at the region’s tourism ‘Oscars’.
There might be a three to five year wait before its whisky, a sister to the popular range produced at the original Penderyn distillery, near Aberdare, can be sampled, but its Visitor Centre is already packing them in.
It received its accolade at the Go North Wales Tourism Awards, a glittering event at Venue Cymru in Llandudno sponsored by leading food distribution company, Harlech Foodservice, and hosted by acclaimed journalist Sian Lloyd who hails from Wrexham.
The occasion was also a 30th anniversary celebration for organiser North Wales Tourism which was founded in 1990 and now represents more than 1,500 members across the region.
The Llandudno distillery is housed in the Grade II listed Old Board School in the town’s Lloyd Street and only opened in May.
A delighted Distillery Manager, Dafydd Pesic-Smith, said: “It is going very well and it’s great to be in such a brilliant town.
“We’re a well-known and trusted brand and people are out and about now and they’re enjoying visiting us and seeing what we do.”
Marine Holiday Park, in Rhyl was also among the winners, picking up the Thornley Leisure Parks Go Holiday Par k of the Year and owner Samantha Williams said: “We’ve been here 15 years and this has been the toughest but we’ve got through it and that’s down to Team Marine.
“We reopened on March 1 this year just hoping that people would still come to beautiful North Wales and they have so North Wales is the real star of the show – it’s absolutely brilliant.”
Also honoured at the event was Dr Shyam Patiar MBE, the former Director of Hospitality and Catering at Coleg Llandrillo, who received the Go 30 Years in Tourism Award, sponsored by Tir Prince Leisure Group,
The accolade was to recognise the immense contribution to the tourism and hospitality sector made by Dr Patiar who has dedicated his professional life to preparing young people to excel in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Many of his protegés have gone on to have stellar careers, including the likes of TV chef Bryn Williams, who runs acclaimed restaurants in London and Colwyn Bay.
Dr Patiar is currently training young people in the industry to compete against the best in the World Skills Olympics which will take place next year in Shanghai, China.
Conwy winners: Lyons Pendyffryn Hall, Pario Leisure Group Self Catering Site of the Year; Aber Falls Distillery Tourism and Hospitality Hero Glenn Evans, Royal Oak, Betws y Coed; North Wales Live Go Resilience and Innovation Award St David’s Hospice, Llandudno; Go Business Events and Incentive Travel Award sponsored by Heart North Wales, Venue Cymru, Llandudno; Go Attraction of the Year sponsored by Development Bank of Wales, Penderyn Distillery, Llandudno.
Denbighshire winners: Thornley Leisure Parks Go Holiday Park of the Year, Marine Holiday Park, Rhyl; Pero Foods Ltd Go Pet Friendly Award, Y Shed, Meliden; Bwydlyn Butchery Go Taste of North Wales Award, Three Eagles Bar and Grill, Llangollen; Design To Print Go Activity of the Year, Mynydd Sleddog Adventures, Llyn Brenig and Alwen Reservoir.
Gwynedd winners: Colliers Hotels Best B&B/Inn, Plas Tan yr Allt, in Porthmadog; Harlech Foodservice Best Camping/Glamping, Graig Wen Arthog, Dolgellau; Adventure Parc Snowdonia Responsible and Sustainable Green Award, Greenwood Family Park, Y Felinheli; Grwp Llandrillo Menai Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award; Michael Bewick, Llechwedd Slate Caverns; Pario Leisure Group Self Catering of the Year, Lyons Pendyffryn Hall; Castell Howell Foods Ltd Go Hotel of the Year, Plas Dinas Country House.
According to Chair of the judges Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, the amount of investment going into improving the infrastructure of the tourism and hospitality sector was a vote of confidence in the future of the industry in North Wales.
Before the pandemic, the tourism industry was flying with the overall income generated increasing to an all-time high of £3.6 billion in 2019 when the number of visitors rocketed to nearly 37 million.
After a massive slump, the staycation boom this summer showed that North Wales was still a hugely popular destination for holidaymakers.
Jim Jones said: “Like everybody else, the tourism industry has endured an absolute nightmare over the past 20 months and, because of the nature of the business, our sector was disproportionately affected during the lockdown periods.
“I would like to congratulate the winners and the other finalists tonight because was they have achieved is utterly remarkable, particularly under the most difficult of circumstances.
“I would also like to stress that all the nominees are playing an absolutely vital role in leading the economic recovery here in North Wales and I would like to thank them for their incredible ongoing contribution.”
David Cattrall, the managing director of Harlech Foodservice, said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to be the headline backer of the awards and to sponsor two individual categories because the tourism and hospitality industry represents our core customer base.
“Although we’ve all had an extremely tough time, there are reasons to be optimistic for the future and the scale of investment going into North Wales shows there is a strong belief that this is a first-class, must-visit destination.”
North Wales Tourism used the occasion to raise money for their nominated charity, St David’s Hospice in Llandudno.