Food & Drink Awards 2021 Page 27 LUX 2021 Food & Drink Awards From a ‘simple’ plan to open a microbrewery back in 2003, Peak Ales has grown into a popular brand. Today its traditionally crafted ales are stocked in over 100 establishments across the Peak District. Peak Ales Microbrewery of the Year 2021 - Peak District Sep21145 Passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family, Chatsworth House in Bakewell, Derbyshire is still the family home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The estate itself has a long history of brewing. When celebrated architect James Paine designed the grand stables in the 1760s, he included a brewery. Little wonder that when Robert and Debra Evans got the chance to embark on their dream of running a microbrewery, they jumped at the chance. The couple had made a plan to leave their jobs, sell the family home and move to the Peak District to follow their dream. Although they knew that Cunnery Barn on the Chatsworth Estate was the perfect location, the two years that followed weren’t easy. It took that long just to prepare the site, but in 2005 Peak Ales was born. The company went from strength to strength. By 2012, as demand continued to increase, it became clear that Peak Ales was outgrowing its premises when the brewery was running at full capacity. In 2014, Peak Ales moved to purpose-built premises in nearby Ashford-in-the-Water. But having such a long and successful history working on the estate, not to mention so many happy memories, the couple decided to repurpose Cunnery Barn. Further renovation work took place from 2017 to 2019. Peak Ales created a Brewery Visitor Centre and Gin Distillery on the original site. Today the site boasts a small brewery, a distillery, a shop and a tasting room. Retaining a presence on the site has allowed Peak Ales to expand and experiment further. The ‘pilot’ brewery that the team installed in 2018 is used to test new recipes and try out new brewing styles. And when the gin still was installed in summer 2019 Peak Ales launched its next venture, Chatsworth Gin at the Chatsworth Country Fair. The new venture has been a resounding success. Links to the Chatsworth Estate are never more evident than in some of Peak Ales’ flagship products. There are historical references, but also collaborations between the estate and Peak Ales. The Gardener’s Tap Ale is based on an original recipe and a story that was unearthed in the 1950s. When the original brewery was installed the then Duke commissioned a pipe to run from the brewery to the cellar of the house. The pipe ran under the gardens. When it was dug up to be sold for its salvage value, a side tap was discovered in the greenhouse. The gardeners had tapped into the pipe so that they could help themselves to a drink! Keeping the ale linked to the local area is key for Peak Ales. Chatsworth Gold, which uses honey from the Chatsworth Estate is a bright Golden Beer. Its delicate sweetness balances the bitterness from the hops to create a refreshing pint and features regularly as an award winner at prestigious local and national events. In 2019 Peak Ales launched their first gin, with Chatsworth Gin, a small batch release awardwinning London Dry gin that is produced on the former brewery site and is infused with carefully selected botanicals from the Chatsworth Greenhouse. In 2021, the Chatsworth Rose Pink Gin was created, using petals of fresh roses cut from the Chatsworth Garden. The rose petals are added to impart a subtle flavour with an exquisite aroma. The end result is a clear London Style Gin with no artificial pink colourings added. The perfume of roses is subtle but evident, with a slight sweet flavour. So, what next for Peak Ales? Well, the past two years of disruption have impacted the company’s most recent plans, brewery tours and venue hire are on hold for the moment. But Peak Ales is back to supplying its stockists and the brewery shop is open selling their range of popular ales and of course gin. We can’t wait to see what they will come up with next. Contact: Robert and Debra Evans Company: Peak Ales Web Address: