I was lucky recently to be part of a group to be driven around our area to meet some local producers. I was keen to go, as although I know well my very local producers, I cannot say the same for some of those that are a little further away.
The day was organised by Cywain, which is a Mentor a Business project, encouraging collaboration between businesses and getting more local produce from producers, through suppliers to the end consumer.
We started our day off at Coles Distillery, which is just outside of Carmarthen at LLanddarog. This is a family run business with two brothers who are completely passionate about the alcohol they make. They have a great USP, they are the only distillery in Wales that make their alcohol completely from scratch-from the grain. Every other distillery in Wales, we were told, buy in their alcohol and start there making process from here. The Coles brothers actually start it from the grain itself. They have engineered their own processes, machinery and equipment and made these themselves-it’s quite a thing to see. And because of how they have their alcohol production set up, they can make any number of alcohol varieties. They make beers and ciders, gins, brandy, rum and whiskey.
Although, at the moment you cannot buy the whiskey as it is still in its storage phase. Apparently, although we are in Wales, and are making Welsh Whiskey, we(as in the country) still have to abide by the rules for making Scittish Whiskey (!!?!?), and so, it is deemed that Whiskey has to be laid down for 3 years and 1 day before it can be bottled and sold. So, we have one more year to wait before we can get our hands on that!
The distillery room is full of stainless steel, spotless shiny metal all around and the smell is quite glorious! There are oak barrels of liquor all laid on their sides, patiently doing their thing, and the smell is intoxicating. Although, once you’ve been in there for a while, whilst listening to the very interesting talk on the Coles family journey, you stop noticing the lovely aroma.
You can watch a video which tells you all about the family and the distillery, you can have a tour right around the distillery and their cider making barn, there is a very informative notice board, with the whole process laid before you, with little boxes of all the different grains, herbs and botanicals that are used in the production of the various alcohols.
Then you can have a wander into their pub, which is on site and choose some lovely artisan hand crafted alcohol to take home. You can buy an empty bottle and fill it with your own choice (you can get these refilled afterwards if you wish) or you can buy a sealed bottle of their finest, and there’s such a choice. There’s a honey based rum, which is good for a cold! There’s a rum named after a pirate from Milford Haven, so of course, I had to buy that one!
The rum is called Cadogan, and it’s a dark rum, the colour comes from the molasses that the alcohol is mixed with (I never knew that!) and it’s nice enough to just sip like a port or you could add a mixer, should you wish.
Here’s the story behind the name of the rum: The Cadogan was the ship of a Milford Haven Pirate called Howell Davies. Unlike other pirates though, he did not rely on arms and power to get what he wanted. He was an intelligent man and used all kinds of tricks such as bribe and disguise to get his loot. His pirate career only lasted 1 1 months before he was deviously ambushed and shot 5 times.
Coming back to the pub, this is a classic village inn with a marvellous thatched roof and a intriguing décor serving good honest pub food.
They undertake distillery tours at 11am most days, and so, it’s a great place to visit for a tour then enjoy a spot of lunch, on your way to us here for your first night’s stay in Pembrokeshire. You can always buy a little momento of your visit and enjoy that when you get back home, which will give you fond memories of your visit