Inspired by people and place
Pembrokeshire's artisan breweries and distilleries
Pembrokeshire has enjoyed a major brewing and distilling renaissance in recent years, and now has an array of microbreweries and distilleries creating a vibrant drinks scene.
While some simply brew and supply local shops and restaurants, others offer tours and immersive tasting experiences, events, outdoor bars and bottle shops, so you can always find the right experience for you. Here’s a quick guide to finding your perfect Pembrokeshire tipple.
Bluestone is the first brewery in the world to be given the Green Key Accreditation, an international award that recognises environmentally sustainable businesses. There’s a zero-waste brewing process – spent malt and yeast go to the farm animals, hops to the local gardening club and wastewater sent down to a reed bed filtration system. Their beer is packed in compostable cardboard, the brewery has a wildflower roof and offers a crisp-packet recycling point.
There’s a bottle shop, taproom and outdoor seating, where they often hold events and live music, so keep an eye on their website for things coming up.
Offering brewery tours and a restaurant tucked down a narrow lane just above Tenby harbour, their signature beers have creative names like North Star, Caldey Lollipop, M.V. Enterprise, and RFA Sir Galahad – which come from well-known and much-loved Tenby boats, as a tribute to the harbourside location.
Every so often, a snippet of conversation at the brewery or a sight down at the harbour captures the brewers’ imaginations and a new seasonal or special beer is born, including the very recent Tamar’s Tusk Arctic ale, in honour of Tenby’s Tamar class lifeboat and Wally the Walrus who set up home on launch ramp of the RNLI station!
Opened in July 2021, this brand-new microbrewery on the St Davids peninsula is already producing some incredible beers! Their four signature brews are named after recognisable places nearby, which they’re proud to nurture from soil to bottle – the barley is grown on the farm, and water used in the production process comes straight from the well on site. You can’t get much more local than that!
If you’re more of a cider person, there’s plenty on offer from the apple-press too. These ciders are inspired by the rich history of the microbrewery’s Pembroke home, and are named after influential historical figures connected to the castle and town. They have a range of flavours, from dry to medium, carbonated to still, and even do a mixed berry and fruit option for those lovely summer afternoons.
This brewery’s ethos is centred around having a very low environmental impact. They don’t use any plastic packaging, feed their spent grain to farm animals, compost the hops, and wastewater is filtered through reed beds. But what we like most is their refusal to contribute to a large carbon footprint – beer delivery is kept to within 30 miles radius of the brewery to keep it as a truly local beer. (Which means you’ve got to be here to try it!)
We also love how the names of their products, like ‘drop squint’, ‘kift’ and ‘sholly’ (to name a few!) are remnants of an almost-lost Pembrokeshire dialect which they are hopping (or should I say hoping) to keep alive.
…And there’s plenty more! Try Tenby Brewing Co.’s full-flavoured, independent craft beers perfect for the modern drinker, or stop for a pint with a sea view at the Victoria Inn Brewhouse set atop the hill above Newgale. Horizon views combined with tasty beer brewed on site, what more could you ask for? Or, inland a little, take a woodland walk and stop in at the Gwaun Valley Brewery for a taste of north Pembrokeshire.
This small, award-winning family distillery opened in 2016 and was the first gin distillery in Pembrokeshire. Combining botanicals with fresh pure water straight from their own well, their distinctive gin is hand bottled and labelled – a truly handcrafted product unique to Pembrokeshire.
A Tenby-based, multi-award-winning craft distillery, two of their flavours made it onto the Great Taste Winners list this year. The Rosemary & Citrus Gin is made with four different citrus peels and is a light and easy-drinking gin which is extremely versatile. The other winner, Welsh Cake Gin, was also awarded a Masters Medal at the 2020 Gin Masters, and a Silver medal in the same competition… The results speak for themselves!
Another Great Taste Winner in 2021, these artisan Vermouths are cold-distilled to retain the natural flavours and fragile aromas of the delicate wild botanicals, which are foraged by hand from around the county.
Made by the team at Lobster and Môr in the quaint village of Little Haven, this gin is as happy in the kitchen as it is on the bar – from dressing a decadent ceviche to marrying with a little Vermouth Bianco and enjoying with an olive, Martini Style. Serve with tonic and kitchen herbs, or the thinnest citrus ribbon you can cut.
Wales’ only not-for-profit gin company, all proceeds go towards an annual local festival to promote music and culture in the region. Inspired by the illicit smuggling trade of tea, spices and sugar among other exotic things that passed through the smuggling tunnels at Solva, these products pay homage to this aspect of the village’s history.
Their signature gin is flavoured with tea, which would have been dragged in large sacks up the gorse-covered headland, so of course you’ll also find notes of gorse flower in there too.
But perhaps more aptly fitting with their smuggling roots, they also produce a crisp, smooth, smoky Rum with real character, flavoured with items that were brought in all those years ago from afar, including black tea, bergamot, and tobacco.
Continuing the topic of unruly seafarers, Barti rum was inspired by Pembrokeshire’s most infamous pirate, Barti Ddu (Black Bart), who rose to fame in the pirate world, wrote the pirate code, and captured over 400 ships during his short reign as a pirate captain.
It’s spiced with exotic flavours of vanilla and clove reminiscent of the precious cargos plundered by Barti Ddu, complemented with orange and hand-picked Pembrokeshire Laver, a type of seaweed characteristic of Welsh coastal produce.
You can rest easy when drinking this gin, because the company is a corporate supporter of the RSBP, contributing 5% of net sales to fund projects on and around Ramsey Island, a wildlife haven in Pembrokeshire and where lots of their hand-picked botanicals come from.
As we say here in Wales – iechyd da (yaki-dar). Good health!
There are so many tipples made with love and passion right here in Pembrokeshire, you’re bound to find a new fave – let us know by tagging@visitpembrokeshire on Instagram.