Penderyn Whisky grows travel retail business through appeal to single malt consumers

Penderyn Whisky has made significant progress in global travel retail since the pandemic ended as more consumers demand something different and more retailers find space on-shelf for a non-Scotch whisky, Simon Roffe, Director Of Business Development at The Welsh Whisky Company Limited, tells TMI.

“It has been a challenging time for a small brand with limited resources, but what has impressed me is the enthusiasm for people to look for something a little bit different,” says Roffe, who joined growing spirits company in Wales in June 2020 after his most recent role as Managing Director, Global Travel Retail at Halewood Wines & Spirits.

“In numbers terms, in 2023 we were about 80% up on 2022 in the travel retail business and we are five times bigger than we were pre-pandemic.

“I look at where the business was in 2019 before I joined and where are we now in distribution, number of doors, and volume. In volume we are five times bigger than we were. We have also increased the number of doors dramatically by focusing on some critical elements instead of a scatter gun approach.”

Penderyn Whisky has had particular success in travel retail with activations such as this in Birmingham International Airport last March.

Travel retail success in Europe and the Americas

Penderyn has had particular success in the travel retail markets both closer to its Welsh home and internationally.

“In the UK travel retail market we are pretty well positioned in airports, cruise, and ferries,” says Roffe.

“Our business with cruise retail with Harding+ has grown phenomenally over the past year. We started on two ships and now we are on 27. And it comes because they are prepared to put on shelf something a little bit different from what people will see in the domestic market. We can influence them through better training, through experiences. We have not done it quite yet, but there is an ambition to put distillery cask experiences onto cruise ships. We can even do limited editions or special bottlings for a minimum of sixty bottles with a personalized label.”

Penderyn has added new listings in Latin America as a result of the TFWA show, to grow on the success of its travel retail doors in North America.

“We are just about to launch domestically in Brazil. We are in Uruguay and now Argentina. We are just going live with London Supply with Penderyn Patagonia after they saw it on-stand in Cannes. We are working with DFS in JFK, SFO, and LAX. We are listed with nine border operators already, which gives us visibility for the Canadian market.”

Michael Pasternak

Read full interview in the 2024 TMI April magazine