Our Story

From fisherman to mandolin maker, road musician to trawlerman, and now distillery man. The story of Sim Daley and Penrock Distillery is one that has truly come full circle.

As a young boy from Looe in the South West of England, Sim spent his youth longing to fish the seas around his Cornish home. Through hard work and determination he achieved his dream and was skipper of his own trawler by the tender age of 21. All was well until 1992 when government restrictions began that eventually forced the sale of his beloved boat in 1995

As an avid musician, it was then that Sim’s curiosity got the better of him and he decided to investigate his other love, bluegrass music.

He set a new course, this time for America where a chance encounter with a beautiful fiddle player named Missy found him married and permanently living in Nashville, Tennessee.

He was soon immersed in the country music scene. At first playing banjo locally then eventually professionally with bands travelling all across the US. He even performed on the legendary Grand Ole Opry stage in Nashville.

As a “day job” Sim had worked at National Guitar Repair, “THE” go to musical instrument repair shop in Nashville, before the shop was acquired by the prestigious Gibson Guitar Co. which took Sim with it. There he became superior of the entire Mandolin construction department, increasing productivity by over two hundred percent during his tenure there.

However, corporate America was no place for that ole Cornish fisherman so Sim departed Gibson Guitar Co. and formed the legendary Daley Mandolin and Guitar company building instruments under his own name.

But where did the distilling all begin you may well ask yourself.Well, it all began with a chance encounter with a kindred spirit. Capt’n Bill plied his trade in and around San Francisco bay. Naturally Sim gravitated towards Bill being an ex mariner himself. Conversation ensued and it wasn’t long before Sim found out Bill was a distiller of brandy made from Californian wine.

The whole encounter had Sim so intrigued it found him quickly Googling “distilling” and “moonshine” on the internet. Through his on-line connection, Sim became acquainted with Sherman Owen. A self confessed Kentucky Hillbilly. Sherman schooled Sim in the fine art of all things distilling, using the knowledge handed down to him through generations of his family’s work in Kentucky’s distilling industry.

Sherman was however, far from your typical Kentucky Hillbilly. His careers had spanned, amongst other things, designing missile guidance systems to being actively sought after as consult distiller by approx. 300 craft distilleries across the Continental United States, and to bigger clients including the prestigious Jim Beam family and the Kulsveen family of Willett distillery.

But as time marched on, Sims interest in the music industry began to wain. His new found passion now found him gravitating increasingly towards the burgeoning craft distilling industry that was beginning to take a firm hold in America. After working around the craft Tennessee whiskey distilleries and gaining first hand insight into the industry, he eventually decided to make yet another life changing decision!

After 21 years of living in America, and with the ever increasing yearning to return to his beloved Cornwall, Sim sold up and headed back to Cornwall to start his own whiskey adventure. Upon return, he found himself back at sea skippering trawlers once more, all the while feverishly working behind the scenes on his own whiskey distillery plans.

Armed with the numerous connections he had made in the American distilling industry, Sim set about creating his dream.

Sim pays homage to some amazing friends, like Jim Harrelson of Do Good Distillery for his endless encouragement and insight into the daily operation of a distillery. And Steve Cage, a prestigious still designer and manufacturer who’s faith in Sims ability as a distiller saw him offer the UK franchise of his company. This was something that had never before been awarded to anyone who didn’t actually own their own distillery and It was through Steve’s help that Sim acquired the stills and equipment that Penrock Distillery uses today.

Today, Penrock Distillery prides itself on quality. As a “grain to glass” distillery, they proudly cook, ferment and distill EVERY drop of alcohol from raw ingredients.

Their rum is made from the finest imported blackstrap molasses, double distilled in copper pot stills, and lovingly hand crafted into their line of premium quality expressions.

Every drop of ground breaking Penrock Sour Mash Cornish “Bourbon” whiskey is created, where possible, from the very finest Westcountry grain. Twice distilled in their copper pot still for maximum flavour, then aged in newly coopered premium white American oak casks. Because Penrock age right on site at the distillery, the local terroir will help set this prestigious Cornish whiskey apart.

Once the Sour Mash casks have finished maturing, they will be emptied and filled again, this time with their Single Malt Whiskey.

As with all things Penrock, they pay homage to tradition while blazing their own trail allowing them the freedom to produce unique twists on old standards.

Even today, Sim is experimenting with variants on Penrock Single Malt. He hopes to mature these expressions in the third use of the casks, taking full advantage of the influence of the previous whiskey maturation.
These expression take many years to come fruition, but will be very much worth the long wait.

in the pursuit of the finest handcrafted, premium spirits

dedicated to crafting the finest of American spirits

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