If you’d asked us 12 months ago where we thought we’d be in March 2019, the answer would have been pretty different to the adventure we’re about to embark on. Our plan centred around selling 3,000 litres of In the Welsh Wind branded gin on a retail basis, building a business around our small family, based in our property in Tresaith. We’re still very much focussed on family – it’s at the heart of everything we do – but the opportunities that have arisen over the last year have reshaped our vision. The Welsh wind has blown us towards a hugely exciting new chapter of our business – and it starts 2 miles down the road at The Gogerddan Arms, Tan y Groes.
An iconic building at the heart of a community
There’s been a coaching inn at Tan y Groes for many years. It’s at an important crossroads on the main road running down the coast, through Ceredigion and into Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire. Here, the road also runs east to west from Aberporth through to Newcastle Emlyn and on to Carmarthen. The original Gogerddan Arms was a coaching inn, a staging post on the journey from Aberystwyth to Whitland. Records indicate that a licence was transferred to Mr Benjamin Peregrine in 1889.
The Gogerddan was tied to Buckley’s Brewery. Buckleys purchased land on the other side of the road and in 1965 the Gogerddan Arms re-opened in what has become something of an iconic landmark – very fitting for a building whose name means (loosely translated from the Welsh) “important meeting house”.
By 2011, the Gogerddan had closed as a pub, although the grounds played host to a regular car boot sale. At this point, the building had new life breathed into it when it was taken over by Jan, who’s been the landlady ever since. Tired décor and an outdated layout were swept away, a new bar was constructed and the restaurant revamped. The Gogerddan blossomed as a community hub, hosting events such as the Blaenporth Carnival and a local tractor run, with Jan at the helm.
From busy pub to gin distillery
Talking to Jan over the last few weeks, it’s very clear that while she had never really thought she would end up running a pub, she had wanted to run her own enterprise, and she’s relished the business, working and being with people. But pubs are all consuming. During the 8 years she has been navigating the challenges of keeping a community served with food and drink, fun and eventful as it has been, she has missed time with her family, in particular, her grandson in Cardiff.
At the same time as Jan has been contemplating her next steps, and retirement, In the Welsh Wind has taken off for us. Producing premium, bespoke craft gins for businesses, welcoming gin lovers into the distillery for gin making experiences and gin tastings has proved to be a great business model, and very quickly, we have realised that we need to grow physically if we’re to continue to push the business on to greater things.
The rest, we hope, will very quickly become history. As we move into the Gogerddan, we will have the opportunity to offer so much more to the businesses we partner with, and to the community here in West Wales. We have exciting plans to take the building on to new things, to give it a future at a time when the pub trade is struggling. We’re delighted to have Jan’s blessing as we give it a new identity, although we hope very much that it will remain an important meeting house!
Follow our journey as In the Welsh Wind moves down the road
It’s a time of change for us, things are moving fast, and we’d love you to be part of our journey. We’ll be posting updates on our social media feeds (you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn), and plans are in the pipeline for a regular newsletter – sign up here to make sure you get our latest updates blown through into your inbox!