With three premium gins, Shivering Mountain Distillery captures the beauty, taste and hospitality of its High Peak locality
Towering over the village of Castleton in the Peak District is the dark, imposing might of Mam Tor. This geological marvel, formed millennia ago, is composed of a dark gritstone exterior with a soft limestone interior. The mountain has periodic landslips, causing the gritstone to tumble. When this happens, the locals say the mountain is shivering. It is an image that impressed Nick Malaczynski so much that he set about building a distillery in the area. He called it Shivering Mountain in honour of the landmark, and then worked to create a gin that celebrated the local terroir. Even the bottle design contains a three-dimensional replica of the mountain.
“We want to be as authentic to the area as possible,” says Nick. “We set out to make an authentic gin that represented the locality. We use botanicals that you find on and around the mountain – bilberry and sloe, as well as a lot of juniper for our Premium Dry. It’s a very juniper-forward gin and it won a gold medal in the 2023 European Spirits Challenge.”
Nick has crafted three gins, each of which showcases the Peak District’s unique landscape. The Premium Pink Gin is the Premium Dry with distilled grapefruit peel, while the Early Harvest features young flowers and leaves such as elderflower, bilberry leaf and gorse to create a more gentle, floral flavour. Other gins may follow, such as the Christmas spritz that combines Premium Dry with honey, apple juice and cinnamon – a combination that has proved to be very popular in local pubs.
“A lot of pink gin is sweet, but we wanted to make a dry pink gin, so it has no added sugar and then a slight taste of pink grapefruit right at the back of the swallow. For the Early Harvest Gin, we went back to our original botanicals but added the leaves and flowers. If we make more gins there will always be a connection with the area.”
Provenance is an essential part of Shivering Mountain, which celebrates the beauty and history of the High Peak district of Derbyshire. Nick was keen to draw his workforce from local people, offering them the opportunity to become part of a rapidly growing company without having to migrate into the cities. One such person is Imogen Richards, who is training to take over as distiller, bringing into the fold the enterprise and enthusiasm of youth, as well as local knowledge. “Imogen is one of very few young female distillers in the industry and she is an exceptional talent,” says Nick. “It’s great to see young people become passionate about something.”
This is a passion that seems to be contagious, with Shivering Mountain’s premium gin winning accolades across the country, including two silver medals and a bronze at the brand’s first entry to the 2023 London Spirits Competition, soon followed by the gold medal in the European Spirits Challenge. It is widely available through national distributors, as well as at some high-profile retailers overseas.
“We have a lot of interest from all over the world,” says Nick. “The ambition is to build a global brand, taking the gin to 25 or 30 countries, but we take sustainability very seriously so want to find a way to increase our production while continuing to behave responsibly. The aim is to leave a lasting impression that captures the beauty, tastes and hospitality of the Peak District and its warm-hearted and welcoming people.”