We asked Rob Evans a bit about Peak Ales, where it started and where it is now. What the Peak District means to them and what motivates them to keep producing their amazing beer. Rob said, "There are 10 people who work at Peak Ales Ltd. We’ve got three brewers, working across two breweries, 2 delivery drivers and 5 of us in the office, which is situated above the Visitor Centre covering everything else – the nerve centre!
Peak Ales is the product of a dream – the dream of establishing a traditional craft brewery in the heart of the Peak District and crafting fine ales of a style that perfectly reflect the glorious countryside in which they are created. I wanted to be independent and be my own boss. I wanted to establish a microbrewery because I felt beer - cask ale was something unique to Britain that was in danger of being sidelined by the larger national and international brewers. It was a product we did well and something we should be proud of, and champion, as being a distinct part of our British character and heritage, oh and I liked it! I went to work for a small microbrewery in Worcestershire to gain experience and check that I was up to the job and not looking at things through rose coloured spectacles. Initially it was personal pride.
When you bring a product to market you are putting your reputation on the line. Customers, quite rightly, expect a quality product; one that compares favourably with what is already available. I could provide really flavoursome locally produced beers and great customer service. I am still motivated to do so - as is everyone at Peak Ales. When I stated brewing there were very few local microbreweries but now there are more than 60 in Derbyshire alone so if you are not providing what the customer wants they will certainly be able to find it elsewhere!
I am fairly local, being born in a village on the edge of Chesterfield and I spent many a weekend and fair few family holidays walking and cycling in the Peak District enjoying the ever changing scenery and the quiet country lanes and footpaths. The natural beauty of the landscape and the physical challenge often exerted to enjoy it make the first pint in a country pub all the more satisfying and enjoyable. That it may be a Peak Ales pint sampled in that pub makes me immensely proud.
My favourite food and drink choices will often change with circumstance but I don’t think you can go too far wrong with a hearty steak pie served with chips, vegetables and plenty of gravy accompanied by a couple of pints of Bakewell Best Bitter - ideally after a decent walk to a country pub!"
If you ask Rob what he does in his spare time, you can expect a similar answer to many of the producers to be found here in the Peak District - they don't tend to have a lot of spare time. "Spare time?! Personally I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, playing 5-a-side football, socialising and definitely sampling (market research?)."
We're proud to be working with Peak Ales. Their beer is as close to perfect as you can get and their team are passionate and incredibly supportive. It was such a pleasure to work with them at our Summer Pop-Up Supper Club.