White Peak

OurWhisky Foundation Inaugral Demeter Collection in collaboration with Whisky Auctioneer

Auction 29th March – 8th April 2024
As White Peak Distillery supports the OurWhisky Foundations Inaugural Demeter Collection this month, with a very unique bottling of Wire Works Whisky, we talk to Claire Vaughan Co-founder about her personal whisky journey, working alongside her husband Max to build a whisky brand (with no prior experience in the drinks and spirits industry),  and how finding their home at The Wire Works in Derbyshire was a pivotal moment.


Claire Vaughan and family at White Peak Distillery

I grew up in Derbyshire (as did my Max). We moved away for 13 years and then back to the area with our three children in 2010.  I was still teaching and studying part-time for a diploma in Interior Design. We built a house together when we first moved back, and enjoyed it. We’ve always been attracted to ‘projects’, enjoying the process, allowing us to combine our individual strengths/interests and create something together. So why not build a business together?

Max has always been a whisky ‘enthusiast’, inherited from his dad and over the years it became a 3-way shared interest. I started out with whisky in my late twenties. It was my dark spirit of choice. So years later, the dream of starting a distillery grew out of a shared interest in an iconic spirit we both love, synonymous with quality and passion, and to make it in a part of the world it’s never been made before.

A lot of work went into the ‘plan’ mainly around what’s the financial ask to build a whisky distillery and make a product you can’t sell for a minimum of 3 years (and 5+ years from ‘breaking ground’). I don’t tend to get excited about spreadsheets, Max was on his own.

The pivotal moment on the journey for me was finding our home at the former Johnson  Nephew Wire Works, I instantly felt it had a soul. An old Victorian site built in the 1870’s on the river Derwent, with Shining Cliff Woods right outside our back door. The buildings we looked at were derelict, empty since the 1990’s, with evidence of its previous 120+ year life littered all around.  We walked in and despite the state of the place, and feeling of being overwhelmed by the task ahead, I felt excitement and that everything was starting to make sense. This is where whisky should made.

Continuing to find out more and more about the Wire Works, the people, the place, the innovative products and how they changed the world is inspiring. It gives you a very long-term perspective on your business, what you’re making, how you’re making it and the people who make it. You realise the foundations are so important.  The whisky we make will live beyond our life-time and we’re passionate about playing our part in the history of the Wire Works and continuing the legacy of making a high quality, innovative product that is made to last and that we can be proud of.

Claire Vaughan Co-founder at White Peak Distillery in Warehouse Six

My day to day job now the distillery is set up, is about telling the story of where Wire Works Whisky is made, and the people who make it, and importantly how it is made and the care and attention to detail that goes into everything we do.

As a small business you tend to wear a number of hats, and as the business grows you back fill with good people and hopefully step up more into the value adding roles . It’s a good way to know your business, but can  often feel hard due to the amount of juggling, and there’s been lots to learn – so every day is a school day!


Wire Works Whisky Love, Sweat & Tears

Bottle No.1 Cask No.1

Wire Works Whisky Love, Sweat & Tears – Bottle No.1 Cask No.1  

We are delighted to support the OurWhisky Foundations first auction of whiskies celebrating female achievement with our one-of-kind bottling of  Wire Works Whisky, Love, Sweat & Tears.

Love, Sweat & Tears, bottle No.1 from cask No.1. The only bottle to be released from this cask. The bottling celebrates the story of our journey to create a single malt whisky, a product we love, founded on the DNA of the place we love, and all with no previous experience in drinks and spirits. Love, passion and working hard can get you a long way!


Love, Sweat and Tears the only bottle from cask no.1  filled at White Peak Distillery in 2018

OurWhisky Foundation Demeter Collection

The OurWhisky Foundations collaborative approach to shining a light on diversity and women working in the industry is one I admire. Personal stories are always the most enduring and interesting, and the opportunity to hear these through whisky, in one collection will hopefully inspire and welcome more people into the category.

I’ve personally been involved as a mentor for the Our Whisky Foundation programme, and experienced first-hand how the organisation is working hard to support women working in the industry. Facilitating the opportunity to gain and share knowledge, make connections and consider new career paths.  We’ve also been fortunate to have two members of the Distillery team accepted onto the mentorship programme, so we’ve benefitted as a business from both mentor and mentee experiences.

The Demeter Collection is named  after the Greek goddess of grain and highlights the unique and exquisite whiskies crafted and inspired by some of the industry’s most talented women, aiming to tell the compelling stories of the females behind their creation.

The inaugural Demeter Collection features 18 lots of rare whiskies, many of which are one-of-a-kind. 100% of the proceeds from the auction, including Whisky Auctioneer’s buyers’ fee, will be donated to the OurWhisky Foundation.

The inaugural auction will be hosted in partnership with Whisky Auctioneer on 29 March- 8 April 2024

Key dates

29th March - Auction goes live on Whisky Auctioneer

8th April - Auction closes
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OurWhisky Foundation Article