It’s time to try Derby’s spirit of innovation

Wire Works Whisky has been years in the making. It’s the reason for rejuvenating a 120-year-old former wire works in a World Heritage Site, and its launch marks one of England’s newest whisky distilleries coming of age.

Making its own history as Derbyshire’s first full-scale craft distillery, and the region’s first commercial whisky producer, White Peak Distillery has finally launched its long-awaited single malt, which has been aging in oak barrels at its historic home since 2018.

Founded six years ago by husband-and-wife team Max and Claire Vaughan – both originally from Derbyshire – White Peak Distillery has gone from strength to strength, winning awards for its Distillery visitor experiences, and creating handcrafted gin, plus a Derbyshire rum, all distilled and aged on its ground-breaking site.

But the dream was always to produce the region’s first whisky, and now its hotly anticipated matured Wire Works Whisky has been released – initially just over 5,000 bottles, some of which will be on sale from 3 February, while stocks last, with more releases planned this year.

While the brand name reflects White Peak’s pride in its historic setting and its spirit of innovation, the whisky also celebrates the area’s brewing heritage.

Named after the Distillery’s home – the former Johnson & Nephew Wire Works on the banks of the River Derwent, which forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site – provenance, heritage and flavour are at the heart of the distillery’s ethos and whisky-making process.

As well as using traditional, bespoke copper pot stills, the lightly-peated single malt whisky has been created through a flavour-focused four-day fermentation, incorporating live yeast sourced from a local Peak District brewery.

That commitment to flavour and traditional methods continues with the final spirit being matured in a variety of first-fill oak casks, including ex-bourbon and STR casks (re-conditioned casks that have been shaved, toasted and re-charred).

And the whisky’s bespoke bottle reinforces White Peak’s pride in the site’s industrial and creative history, thanks to its cleverly designed ‘cable’ pattern.

It is yet another connection to the innovation at the heart of its World Heritage Site base, with Johnson & Nephew a pioneer in wire and cable products, supplying cable for the first, sub-sea cross channel telegraph service.

The whisky went on sale online and in White Peak’s on-site shop (open Monday-Saturday) on the 3rd of February, as well as through selected retailers, alongside its popular Shining Cliff gin and small-batch, cask aged Derbyshire rum.

For those wanting to know more, public tours are available every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, offering a chance to experience the Victorian still house, home to the hand-made copper pot stills and cask stores. Visitors are also guided through the whisky making process by one of the distillers and tours end in the Tasting Room for a guided tasting, plus a chat about all things White Peak and craft spirits.

For details about the Distillery, sales and tours, visit

For tourist information about Derby, see

Photos: Joe Hall


Derby is bidding to become the UK City of Culture 2025 and is supported by a city-wide partnership, including Visit Derby: “Culture Derby 2025. Derby is the city of makers; the birthplace of innovation. We are engineers, pioneers, artists and poets. Our people make our city and together we will make Derby the City of Culture.”

Derby is among the eight successful bids through to the longlist of places in the running to be UK City of Culture 2025, with the winner to be revealed in early 2022.

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    Max and Claire Vaughan