On the 14th August, Sarah Dines MP visited Max Vaughan, owner of White Peak Distillery at the Derwent Wire Works, Ambergate, to see the impressive site and to hear about the work they did to support the local community by making hand sanitiser during the pandemic.
Sarah Dines MP said, ‘Max showed me the operation which commenced with a dream in 2016 which has progressed to a fully functioning distillery, here in Derbyshire Dales. We have some amazing local businesses in our area and it is always very inspiring to hear the background to how these businesses were built. Clearly a large amount of hard work has gone into White Peak Distillery and it certainly appears to be paying off.
‘Max and his wife Claire, who heads up marketing and PR, have put tremendous effort into the business, assisted by Shaun Smith head distiller and Dave Symes, distiller.
I was given a wonderful tour and history by Max, who explained how the distillery was started in part of the old Johnson and Nephew wire works, with a huge history of industrial innovation on this World Heritage site. Max and his wife represent the latest of a tough entrepreneurial breed of Brits, of which I am very proud.
‘Building the distillery from scratch was no mean feat, nor small investment. The steel work was from England, the copper work from Scotland and water from the Derwent is used in the cooling process, under licence from the Environment Agency. East Anglian grain and products from Scotland are used in the whiskey making process here. This is a truly British operation.
‘We should not forget our industrial heritage in Derbyshire Dales. As the birth place of the Industrial Revolution we have a proud and long history of innovation. When one industry fades we must support the next industry and diversify. The pandemic has made this all the more important. Entrepreneurs like Max and Claire are at the heart of this and are part of our nation’s story. Max had been able to continue the business with the help of the Government furlough scheme. He is optimistic about the future but knows it’s going to be tough going forward.
‘I have to give White Peak Distillery a shout out for their actions during lockdown. They used the distillery to produce alcohol based sanitiser, which was used by the community locally. What a help this was to our National effort. I continue to be in awe of the Derbyshire community and how during this pandemic they have shown resilience, innovation and support for one another.
During lockdown, the well-known tour programme had to cease, which was a blow, but the tours are starting again in September, which will be a great relief to friends of the distillery and the renowned Temperance Club. I for one, am looking forward to visiting again in the future.’’