White Peak Distillery’s Wire Works Whisky, born in Derbyshire, a taste of home. 

Single malt whisky is a product that many associate as a spirit from Scotland; the terms ‘whisky’ and ‘scotch’ often being used interchangeably.  However, despite having been made north of the border for 500+ years, in more recent decades there’s been a growing world whisky scene.

In this changing whisky landscape, one Derbyshire couple saw an opportunity to create an authentic English whisky business and build a brand with a strong sense of regional provenance, heritage and flavour. In search of a Distillery home, they opted to incorporate the regions industrial past by salvaging space at the former Johnson & Nephew Wire Works (est. 1876) in Ambergate. 

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White Peak Distillery was founded in 2016 by local husband-and-wife team Max & Claire Vaughan.  The Distillery’s core product is a lightly-peated single malt English whisky which, honouring a sense of place, is called Wire Works Whisky. Although only released for the first time in early 2022, the whisky has already won multiple internationally recognised awards.  In 2023, recognition for Wire Works Whisky included a coveted Gold Medal in the IWSC (International Wine & Spirits Competition) Awards - the only English whisky to receive this top award!

Wire Works Whisky incorporates its Derbyshire roots in various ways. Foremost is a long-standing relationship with nearby Thornbridge Brewery from where live brewers yeast is collected each week for use in its whisky-making.

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This adds very unique flavour to the Distillery’s whiskies, and also provides a link to centuries of regional brewing heritage. The entire whisky-making process happens on site in Ambergate, from mashing & fermentation, through distillation, maturation and bottling. A full life-cycle of Derbyshire provenance. 

In addition to single malt whisky, the Distillery also makes its own range of ‘Shining Cliff’ dry gins and a cask-aged rum.  Whisky is a spirit which has a legal minimum maturation (generally in oak casks) of three years and so the gins, launched back in 2018, provided an opportunity to grow some awareness about the new business and also something for people to try!

From the outset, the plan was to establish a destination to showcase craft distilling and the Distillery has been offering visitor tours and events since 2018 (long before the whisky was ready to bottle). The weekly scheduled tours include a guided ‘behind the scenes’ walk through of the sounds (and smells) of the distilling process and finish up in a cosy tasting room, where the guests can sample the whisky, gin and rum.

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White Peak Distillery also has its own ‘cellar door’ shop (and website) which is stocked with various Wire Works Whisky releases, along with its Shining Cliff gins and rum.  The Distillery enjoys a 5-Star Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice status and continues to rank at the top of ‘things to do’ in Derbyshire.

Since launching Wire Works Whisky, the business has expanded its reach through multiple national stockists and more recently import partners around the globe; Wire Works Whisky is now available in countries such as Austria, Germany, Singapore and Taiwan.  Whisky is a long-term business and the aspirations of the founders are to leave a legacy for people to enjoy and be proud of for decades to come.