The team at Ceredigion distillery, In the Welsh Wind, is celebrating after winning the COVID 19 Resilience Award at the inaugural Wales Food and Drink Awards.
The awards shortlisted businesses in a range of categories to reflect the diverse nature of what is a key sector in the Welsh economy and one that has a global reputation for excellence.
The COVID 19 Resilience Awards, sponsored by Cywain, recognised businesses that had gone above and beyond not only to support their communities but to grow and develop despite the pandemic.
During the first COVID 19 lockdown, In the Welsh Wind’s team was initially reduced to just the owners, Alex Jungmayr and Ellen Wakelam, with their young son.
Business manager Joe Lewis worked from home and the remaining three staff were placed on furlough. However, Ellen and Alex saw that the Cardigan area needed hand sanitiser and they were able to produce it, so they moved production away from gin and into sanitiser overnight.
Ellen said: “It was clear to us that we were in a position to be able to help the community, so there was no question that we would set up hand sanitiser production. From one small photo on social media of a bottle of hand sanitiser, we had queues of people up the distillery drive coming to collect.
“We also supplied many community groups and organisations including the RNLI, the Post Office delivery teams, the police, care homes and doctors’ surgeries. We provided the sanitiser free or at cost where we could.”
In addition to hand sanitiser, during the pandemic the team launched the distillery’s first ‘own brand’ Signature Style gin to much acclaim.
The company also worked with Bluestone Brewing Co to save 3,500 litres of Bluestone Summer Rocks beer from being wasted by creating a cask-aged Welsh vinegar which has since been featured on TV.
The business has grown significantly since September 2020, now employing 18 people and, most recently, has opened a gin bar, Bar 45, in Cardigan.
Ellen added: “Winning this award is really a testament to the whole team and how we’ve not only survived but grown and succeeded through what has been an incredibly difficult time for everyone.
“It’s been an honour to be able to help the community where I grew up by providing hand sanitiser and to work with Bluestone on the vinegar project as well as seeing our own success with the launch of Signature Style.”
Ellen Wakelam receives the COVID 19 Resilience award from Dewi Evans, Cywain’s project manager, watched by Sian Lloyd at the inaugural Wales Food and Drink Awards
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