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Penderyn Distillery handed keys to its new Swansea location

A key Swansea regeneration project has been handed to world-class Welsh business Penderyn Distillery.

Swansea Council has been transforming a significant area of the former Hafod Morfa Copperworks site over the past three years.

The council worked with partners – including Penderyn Distillery and Swansea University – to create the National Lottery Heritage Fund bid.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has provided the project with grant funding of £4m. The project has also received £500k from Welsh Government Economy and Transport funding, and additional works to other historical buildings as part of this project have been supported by Welsh Government Targeted Regeneration Investment funding.

The Penderyn Distillery buildings – saved, improved and newly built on behalf of the council by Swansea firm John Weaver Contractors – are on the site of former industry that made Swansea a copper-making world superpower in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Penderyn Distillery are now installing equipment that will help make the site an operational distillery and visitor attraction.

They will continue to operate from existing Penderyn sites around Wales. The council will continue to regenerate the copperworks and the surrounding lower Swansea Valley area with the help of £20m funding from the UK Government’s levelling-up programme. The council is also continuing its city centre regeneration.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, said: “We’re delighted to hand over this exceptional site to Penderyn Distillery.

“I’m confident that, using their knowledge and expertise as one of Wales’ great modern success stories, this important heritage site will become a fantastic visitor attraction for Swansea.”

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Investment and Tourism,  said: “We thank our funders and contractors for all their help, support and skill. This is another key marker in our on-going £1bn regeneration programme to make Swansea a great place in which to live, work, study and spend great leisure time.”

Vaughan Gething, the Welsh Government’s Minister for Economy, said: “I’m delighted the Welsh Government has been able to support this development. It’s another exciting regeneration project which further develops Swansea as a vibrant city destination. It complements other regeneration projects in the area as well as supporting economic growth and all year-round jobs, which is enabling broader private sector development and investment. We look forward to working with Penderyn, a leading Welsh company which exports globally, on this new distillery and visitor experience.”

Penderyn Distillery’s Chief Operating Officer Neil Quigley said: “There’s so much history to the Hafod Morfa Copperworks site, so we’re delighted to be part of that piece of history moving forward and as each week passes, it’s exciting to see the site coming back to life once again.

“We’re proud to be opening our third distillery in Wales, on one of Swansea’s greatest heritage sites and we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors, once our doors are open.”

Andrew White, Wales Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Heritage can be anything from the past that we value and want to pass on to future generations, and saving it is our priority. Our investment in the Hafod Morfa Copperworks – which has played a significant part in the history of Swansea – will help to increase people’s connection with their local heritage

“Heritage also has a unique role to play in bringing people together where they live, work and visit and through this funding we’re hoping that the site’s heritage will be more accessible, relevant, valued and better understood by all.”

Terry Edwards, managing director of John Weaver Contractors, said: “It’s been a great privilege to have carried out the conservation works on one of Swansea’s greatest heritage landmarks.

“Our dedicated team of conservation artisan tradesmen has worked tirelessly to overcome the reconstruction challenges of the precarious – and once seemingly beyond repair – listed structures and to unearth some copperworks archaeological artefacts.

“I’m sure that Penderyn and its global brand will breathe life back into the Hafod area for all our future generations to enjoy.”

Dr Alex Langlands, an associate professor in history at heritage and project partner Swansea University, said: “Thanks to the whisky stills of Penderyn, copper will once again be central to the vibrancy of the Lower Swansea Valley.

“These are exciting times as a new chapter opens on the globally significant copperworking site, paving the way for further cultural and economic regeneration in the region.”

Richard Townend, Managing Director of GWP Architecture, multi-disciplinary consultant lead, said: “To see the site and buildings now complete and Penderyn fit-out of the spaces underway is a fantastic achievement and a credit to all involved.

“The project has seen many challenges overcome and the design team are extremely proud of the end result, but acknowledgement should also go to Swansea Council’s economic development team who were integral to the  collaborative approach required during the construction phase.

“We wish Penderyn every success as the copperworks comes back to life.”

The Lower Swansea Valley became the world leading centre for copper smelting in the 18th century. The Hafod-Morfa Copperworks site is of international importance, becoming the world’s largest copperworks in the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century.

Swansea Council is leading a major regeneration of key sites in and around the city centre. This has included the creation and opening of the 3,500-capacity Swansea Arena, the transformation of key locations such as The Kingsway and Wind Street and ongoing work to create the 71/72 Kingsway high-tech work hub. Both the Swansea Arena and 71/72 Kingsway projects are being part-funded the Swansea Bay City Deal.

As well as copperworks locations, work is underway to save and bring new life to other heritage gems including the Palace Theatre building and the Albert Hall.

Improvements set for the lower Swansea Valley include outline plans for a new-build extension to Swansea Museum, the transformation of historic railway arches on The Strand into commercial units, and the installation of a River Tawe pontoon near Penderyn.

Penderyn Distillery is the home of Welsh Whisky and brought back distilling to Wales after more than a century. They produce award-winning Welsh whiskies and spirits and export to over 50 countries world-wide. The secret of Penderyn’s success is their unique distillation process, which you can see at their distilleries, in the village of Penderyn, South Wales; in the heart of Llandudno, North Wales, and at their new distillery in Swansea which is planning to open its doors this summer. Penderyn Distillery are open seven days a week and offer distillery tours and whisky masterclasses.