Derbyshire is renowned for many things. Of course, there are its gorgeous walking trails and rolling green hills, plus the dramatic Pennines, its spooky stone circles, and the quirks of Matlock Bath, to name a few. But, one thing you may not be aware of is Derbyshire’s reputation for having some of the best local breweries and distilleries in the country.
The county is home to a long list of talented brewers and distillers, making everything from nationally-renowned IPAs, to crisp small-batch gins.
I love finding a unique distillery or brewery to visit or enjoy the wares, it feels more exclusive and exciting than some of the bigger well known brands. Not to mention an excuse to explore more my wonderful home county of Derbyshire.
best local breweries and Distilleries in Derbyshire
So, if you’re looking for your new favourite tipple, keep reading. Below, we’ve shared our top selection of the best local breweries and distilleries in Derbyshire.
Best local breweries in Derbyshire
Derbyshire is home to an absolutely flourishing independent brewery scene, with an ever-growing list of new and innovative brewers.
If you time your visit right, local markets and fairs are the perfect way to explore a wide range of local breweries. In particular, we recommend Chatsworth Country Fair, or one of the region’s many Christmas markets.
For now though, here are just a handful of Derbyshire’s best local breweries.
Shiny Brewing Company
Shiny Brewing Company is a microbrewery located in picturesque Little Eaton.
Its growing range of award-winning craft beers are produced in a 5000 sq ft site in the village.
But, despite its small size, Shiny is passionate about advocating the highest sustainability standards.
Firstly, Shiny Brewery’s leftover grain goes to a local farmer, where it is used for animal feed. Its hops are also used for composting and soil enrichment. Then, its water is reused throughout the brewing process, for producing the beer, cooling the equipment and cleaning. Plus, any excess of its unique house yeast is sent for bio digestion, to become a renewable form of natural gas.
Derby Brewing Company
From Little Eaton to Derby city centre, Derby Brewing Company is a family-run craft brewery, creating a growing list of award-winning real ales.
The brewery has a core selection of eight permanent beers, plus numerous limited edition seasonal real ales, which are released throughout the year.
You can order their beers online, or even pay them a visit in person, for one of their popular brewery tours.
Muirhouse Brewery is the very embodiment of rural, small-batch brewing. In fact, the brewery started with just a 100 litre plant, located in the family’s garage, and a brewing once a week on Sunday.
Today, operations have expanded considerably, with the investment of a 4BBL scale, its range has grown to include 17 real ales, and the Muirhouse brewery has been featured in pubs and beer festivals throughout the county, widely celebrated as one of the very best local breweries and distilleries in Derbyshire.
In 2012, Tollgate Brewery moved to its current home of the National Trust Calke Abbey Estate, in one of its historic nineteenth century farm buildings.
Tollgate Brewery has become renowned for its use of traditional brewing techniques (many of which date back as far as the 1800s). But, despite its strong links with the region’s brewing history, Tollgate is a bold and creative brewery, with pioneering blends and a fun, youthful style. Its beers include Billy’s Best Bitter, Duffield Amber, High Street and Stand & Deliver.
Bently Brook Brewing Company
Bentley Brook is the most local brewery to me. Nestled beside the beautiful Lumsdale Falls, it really is one of Matlock’s ‘hidden gems’. Many people find it by accident on a walk to the falls, others flock here from far away.
Started by Kurt Baker and his family. They started trying out brewing beer at home and soon realised it had commercial quality and Bentley Brook was born.
My favourite thing about Bentley is the pies! Hot pies ready to eat, you can even add gravy if you want. Perfect after a long walk around Matlock.
It is a really cosy space with plenty of other drinks and snacks. I enjoyed a giant cookie on my last visit!
Derbyshire’s best local distilleries
If beer’s not so much your thing, don’t fret! Derbyshire’s pioneering makers have also inspired a flurry of local distilleries. If you’re sick of the same old off-the-shelf drinks, these small-batch tipples offer a wealth of flavour and creativity.
Below, you can find our pick of Derbyshire’s best local distilleries.
Shivering Mountain Distillery
It’s hard to imagine a more picturesque, typically-Derbyshire location than the base of The Shivering Mountain Distillery.
Perched on a hill overlooking Hathersage, Shivering Mountain is passionate about ‘capturing the beauty and spirit of the Peak District in a bottle’ (hardly surprising, with all this inspiration on its doorstep!).
To give one particularly charming example, its handcrafted Early Harvest Gin is made using the flowers from the hills surrounding its distillery.
The Forest Distillery
Another firm advocate of local sourcing and organic ingredients, The Forest Distillery creates small-batch spirits using foraged, wild local ingredients.
The distillery is located in the Cat & Fiddle, a 210 year old pub situated high above Macclesfield Forest. In fact, this makes The Forest the UK’s highest altitude distillery.
It collects many of its botanicals from the surrounding forest, giving its spirits distinctly wild, complex and fresh flavours.
Cuckoostone Craft Distillery
Cuckoostone is a craft distillery with an impressive number of awards on its shelf. Alongside its recent Great Taste gold star, Cuckoostone has won two silvers at the London Spirits competition, been a finalist and recipient of a ‘Highly Commended’ recognition at The Gin Guide Awards, and won two awards at the IWSC.
The ultra-rural distillery is located in Barlow’s Church Farm, where the team creates artisan gins, vodkas and rums using traditional methods, in ultra-small batches.
White Peak Distillery
Located in Ambergate, White Peak Distillery is the first full-scale craft distillery in Derbyshire. The brand was founded in 2016, and has since rapidly expanded its range of whiskeys, gins and rums, and brought home a number of national awards.
In another proud homage to the region’s history, White Peak is located in the former Johnson & Nephew Wire Works. This world heritage site is perched right by both the River Derwent and an ancient woodland, giving the distillery a completely unique home.
Derbyshire Distillery’s range of handcrafted gins are renowned for their creative and stand-out flavours.
These include plenty of options, for those with a sweet tooth, such as Candy Floss, Lemon Sherbet, Parma Violet, Peach, and Pineapple & Coconut gins.
Or, if you prefer a more savoury G&T, their range also includes gin flavours such as Olive and Mojito.
No question, there’s something for everyone here!
We hope you enjoyed this round-up of our favourite local breweries and distilleries in Derbyshire.
If you’re keen to support local businesses, or explore Derbyshire’s unique food and drink scene, what other recommendations would you like us to share?
Or, if you think there are any local brewers or distillers that we’ve missed, we’d love to hear your recommendations! You can share your favourites with us in the comments, or get in touch via our socials.