Back in 2013, husband & wife team Karl & Lindsay Bond began distilling from their home, predominantly using ingredients from the local area, including botanicals gathered from Macclesfield Forest and barley grown by local farmers

The initial products – namely Forest Gin, have gained a cult following and are recognised around the world as ultra-premium spirits.

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Images © Forest Distillery

Now, in 2021, they operate across two sites in Macclesfield Forest. Chambers Farm is where they continue to produce gin and other spirits, whilst the Cat & Fiddle now operates as the UK’s highest altitude whisky distillery at 16,89ft above sea level.

Built in 1813, The Cat & Fiddle was a remote coaching Inn, and over the years has become a destination in it’s own right, with views stretching across the Peak District, 7 counties, and on a clear day, there is even a distant sea view!

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As an Inn, it sadly closed in 2015, however there are several reasons why it suited Forest as home to their whisky distillery:

Space

The building is a large, stone built building and provides much needed space to distil whisky

Cellars

There is a network of cool, damp cellars below the building, which give ideal stable conditions for slow maturation of spirit.

Water

The spring water here is filtered through layers of peat. Terrible for a pub but amazing for single malt English Whisky.

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The stills here are very small at 500 litres, so the production is tiny. Every drop is distilled by Lindsay Bond. However, the use of local barley, wild yeast strains and English Oak casks makes for a unique and intriguing spirit from above the clouds. On site, they have regular distillery tours, tastings and events – all of which must be pre-booked.

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DISTILLERY INFO

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NAME

The Forest Distillery

ADDRESS

Cat & Fiddle
Macclesfield Forest
England
SK11 0AR

WEBSITE

theforestdistillery.com

DATE ESTABLISHED

2015

ANNUAL CAPACITY (l)

5000L

WATER SOURCE

On-site Natural Spring (Peaty)

MALT SPECIFICATIONS

Cheshire Spring Barley (Propino)

MALT SOURCE

Cheshire. Farmed by Edd & Laura

YEAST TYPE

Mix of Wild Forest Yeast & SAF M1

GRIST WEIGHT (T)

525kg

MASH TUN TYPE

Traditional

WORT CLARITY

Light cloud

WASHBACKS (QUANTITY)

1

WASHBACKS (SIZE)

2200L

WASHBACK TYPE

Stainless Steel

FERMENTATION TIME

72h

WASH STILLS (QUANTITY)

1

WASH STILLS CHARGE

500

SPIRIT STILLS (QUANTITY)

1

SPIRIT STILL CHARGE

500L

CONDENSER TYPE

Copper Foiled Glass

NEW MAKE STRENGTH

65-70%

FILLING STRENGTH

52-65%

WAREHOUSING

Cellar Matured