Our Green Journey at White Peak Distillery
We’re passionate about what we do and the environment in which we do it and very fortunate to be situated in the midst of the glorious, ancient woodland of Shining Cliff in the Derwent Valley.
As we produce our spirits we’re always thinking about how to do things better. We want to make sure the Distillery has a positive impact on this beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site, in terms of both the environment and the local community.
Here are some of the reasons we think we’re off to a good start.
There’s always more to do and we’d love to hear from you with any feedback or tips – ideas are always welcome!
REGENERATION OF INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE SITE
White Peak Distillery is housed in the former maintenance and stores sheds of the Johnson & Nephew wire works which was a major local employer for 120 years before closing in the mid-1990s. You can read more about the local history here.
We spent over a year restoring these beautiful buildings with their rich industrial heritage, opting for this regeneration in preference to building on a green field site. There are many benefits to this approach including reducing urban sprawl, preserving heritage architecture and decreasing the risk of injury and arson in derelict buildings, to name a few.
The long-term environmental benefits of reusing and renovating an existing building are also significant, even when compared to constructing a new energy-efficient structure. In broad terms, the carbon investment in refurbishing a small factory is only around 80 tonnes of CO2, compared with the 800 tonnes of CO2 to build a new one. Even the highest specification new build could only claw back this advantage over a 100 year period. It’s a win-win situation for us – we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!
EFFICIENT RIVER WATER COOLING
Like our predecessors, we are utilising the water resources of the River Derwent that flow past our back door. For decades the wire works used the river water for cooling in its production process and we’ve been able to incorporate some of the former pumping infrastructure into the cooling system for our spirit condensers.
We estimate that we save around 150 kW/h a day by not running alternatives such as modern chillers – that’s equivalent to boiling 1000 full kettles! We love the fact that we’ve been able to tap into the site’s operational heritage and that it’s also good for our carbon footprint.
Our location is at the heart of the Distillery and we what want to do our bit to keep the area special. One of our first green initiatives was to involve our community in something we feel passionate about; helping to maintain the natural beauty of our local woodland and surrounding Derbyshire countryside.
We held our first community litter pick in September 2017 before the Distillery install had even started, and are on track with our goal of doing one every quarter. We vary the location for our litter picks based on suggestions from our volunteers and also to collaborate with other local businesses.
We’ve donated a cask of whisky to the cause and offer co-ownership in the community cask for anyone doing four or more litter picks; what better way to reward people who have shown a long-term commitment to our local environment!
Come and join us next time – our upcoming litter pick dates are always communicated on social media. #WPDwhiskypick
REFILL NOT LANDFILL
We love our Shining Cliff gin bottles and think a single use is not enough! In September 2018 we introduced a gin refill service which was extended in 2019 and is now available for our 70cl Floral, 70cl Citrus and 50cl Spiced Bottles.
Customers can pop into the shop at the Distillery in Ambergate to refill their empty bottles and receive a 15% discount. Saving money whilst reducing landfill – what’s not to love.
If you’ve ordered spirit from us on-line, you will have noticed one thing missing – plastic. We’re determined to stay clear of single use plastic so our gin is packaged in clever boxes from our friends at the Wine Box Company. Their mailsafe postal packs are made from a high proportion of recycled cardboard and are 100% recycleable. Best of all they don’t need bubble wrap to keep the bottle secure, which is good for reducing landfill.
Our trade customers also receive their orders in recyclable cardboard boxes – but many go one better and return the boxes to us for re-use. We are seeing many of our trade boxes being returned back to the Distillery multiple times resulting in us needing less new packaging. Likewise when we receive packaging for things we order to stock the shelves at our Distillery shop, we keep it and re-use to send products out where we can. #reduce #reuse.
As well as refilling, recycling & re-using, we’re big fans of upcycling. Claire was the mastermind behind the fit out of the shop and tasting room at the Distillery and took every opportunity to recycle and upcycle some of old equipment we found on site to create imaginative new pieces.
Every year in the UK, construction materials account for around: 6 tonnes of materials per person, 122 million tonnes of waste (1/3 of total UK waste) and 18% of carbon dioxide emissions, a major contributor to global climate change.
Using reclaimed materials can significantly reduce these environmental impacts, preventing unnecessary production of new materials, and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.
Claire was passionate about retaining a sense of the building’s heritage, and used various items found when restoring the buildings – including a reclaimed gas heater for the shop sign, a reclaimed door for the shop counter, an old notice board for our greeting card display and hooks that previously held coils of wire.
We also used some of our former ex-bourbon barrels imaginatively, creating our lighting, planters, bar table and more!
Adding other locally sourced items, such as lab stools and a school door has really made our space something special, whilst reducing our environmental impact.
JOIN US IN OUR GREEN JOURNEY
Please get in touch if you have any feedback or ideas to help us on our green journey. To find out more why not pop down to see us at our Distillery Shop and whilst you’re there we can refill your gin bottles! Book on a tour to see how we make our spirits, and gain some insights into the building restoration and river water cooling. Join us on a Litter Pick – #WPDwhiskypick. Or order spirit from our on-line shop with confidence that we won’t send you any single use plastic.