2021 set to be a vintage year for Derby spirits

Craft distillery White Peak Distillery is set to make 2021 a vintage year, thanks to a batch of first releases of handcrafted spirits, all distilled and aged on its ground-breaking site.

You might not be able to visit its Victorian distillery, near Derby, and see the transformation of the former Johnson & Nephew Wire Works, but you can still enjoy award-winning spirits, and 2021 will see new releases of aged rum and whisky joining its already established gin.

Making its own bit of Derbyshire history at the old wire works in the Derwent Valley – a World Heritage Site famous for its role in the industrial revolution – it was the region’s first full-scale, craft distillery.

White Peak distillery produces the region’s first single malt whisky (using English barley), but whilst the whisky is ageing, in 2018 they launched a range of gins and new for 2020, a Derbyshire rum.

Now, 2021 is set to be another big year with the first bottling of its aged rum, as well as the first release of its hotly anticipated whisky.

While it won’t be able to re-open its on-site distillery shop until February at the earliest, or restart its popular distillery tours until the end of March (depending on Covid-19 restrictions), it continues to sell its product range online.

And following the success of regular Zoom tastings launched during the first lockdown, White Peak also plans to keep these going in 2021. New dates have been added up until the end March for the online sessions focusing on its whisky, and which have attracted virtual audiences of more than 400 people from across Europe.

It also has an intriguingly-named ‘Temperance Club’, which offers members the chance to claim first-dibs on earlier, exclusive bottlings of their developing whisky spirit, limited edition bottlings of its future single malt whisky as well as other benefits. The remaining memberships are expected to go soon.

The Distillery started and ended 2020 producing a few batches of its authentic Derbyshire rum, most of which has been maturing in oak casks ready for the first bottling later this year. Using traditional methods, it has created a couple of different styles, and like its gin and whisky, everything is distilled on site. News of the release date is expected soon.

If an authentic Derbyshire rum isn’t enough, October 2021 will also mark the first release of the region’s first single malt whisky. Much anticipated, the distillery put a marker down in late 2020 for a two-year aged bottling release – which sold out within 48 hours of going live on its website, with buyers from as far afield as Germany and Austria.

As well as sparking some serious pent-up demand, the 18-month aged spirit has also proved an award winner too, picking up a Gold medal at the 2020 Wizards of Whisky awards.

While you may have to wait just a little longer to taste the new rum and whisky, White Peak Distillery, founded by Max and Claire Vaughan, has its original Shining Cliff Gin, a small batch Derbyshire dry gin, inspired by the berries, hedgerows and flowers of the Shining Cliff Woods, which border the Distillery site.

For details about the Distillery, sales and virtual tastings, visit www.whitepeakdistillery.co.uk

For tourist information about Derby, and for the latest updates on what’s open, see www.visitderby.co.uk