Meet the Team

Max Vaughan


Max was the guy with a dream that has now become a reality. This is in large part thanks to the collective efforts of everyone on the team. Max is involved with all aspects of the business and in particular enjoys welcoming visitors to the Distillery – every time it’s great to see the positive reactions and revisit what we’ve achieved. Max grew up in Derbyshire and so setting up the Distillery in the Peak District region was part of the plan from day one, and linking our spirits to this remarkable location.

Shaun Smith

Head Distiller

Shaun is in charge of Distillery operations and R&D (and manages to keep some free time to welcome visitors around the Distillery). Shaun was previously one of the original distillers at The Cotswolds Distillery. Shaun joined us in 2016 to work with Max on the Distillery design and engineering, so has been involved from the very beginning. Shaun grew up just across the other side of the Peak District in Macclesfield, so is very much at home here.

Claire Vaughan

Brand Manager, Marketing & PR

Claire is involved with pretty much everything apart from distilling our spirits! Particularly branding and design (from labelling, merchandise and web-site, to the design of our shop and tasting room), as well as working with Max on events, PR and marketing. After 20 years in teaching, Claire retrained in interior design. Having lived and breathed the Distillery with Max from the outset, and being passionate about Derbyshire and the Peak District, it’s become part of family life.

Dave Symes


Dave is a key member of our small distilling team and helps with the day-to-day running of the Distillery and our visitor tours. Dave is a Derbyshire lad and, prior to joining the team, worked locally as a brewer at The Brunswick for a number of years, and so joined us with a good knowledge of mashing and fermentation which is a key area of differentiation for our whisky. Dave joined the team in early 2018 and so was on board with Shaun at the time of commissioning the Distillery.

Liz Griffiths

Business Administration

Liz is involved with many aspects of the Distillery behind the scenes, ensuring that processes and tools are designed for smooth business operation. With a background in engineering and project management, Liz is passionate about making the Distillery a great place to work where we’re always looking to improve how we do things.

Alice Durose

Shop & Tours

Alice works in the shop and helps host our guests on tours and in the tasting room. Alice enjoys the varied wildlife down at the Distillery, and is regularly on the look out for our resident Otters, as well as the many birds that visit our bird feeders.

Fiona Downie

Sales, Marketing & Events Assistant

Fi has joined us part-time to help grow the tourist side of our business. Fi has had a varied career and has worked in senior roles at The Hilton (Park Lane, London) where she was in charge of procurement for food & beverage and also organised events, and for Fly BMI, where she was head of airline scheduling, but has also had stints working in a friend’s delicatessen and more recently walking dogs!

Caine Scott-Mullen

Brand Ambassador & Events

Caine is a friend who’s been on hand from the beginning to provide extra man power at events (he does a very good job of spreading the White Peak word). He’s passionate about what we’re doing, enjoys whisky and spirits in general. A good friend to have!

Will Bond

Packaging and Shop assistant

Will assists us part-time whilst studying for his A’level. He takes care of  bottling and labelling, as well as helping in the shop and tasting room during busy periods.

David Wood

Tours & Events Host

David is a local Peak District lad. Until recently he lived and worked on the Hebridean island of Islay were he gained a wealth of experience in the Scotch whisky industry. He spent a while as Brand Home Manager at Lagavulin before moving on to be Distillery Manager at the mighty Caol Ila Distillery. David has a passion for all things whisky and shares his knowledge on our regular tasting tours at the distillery.