The Story of The Cat & Fiddle
The Cat & Fiddle is born
In 1813 a local Silk Merchant called John Ryle purchased a plot of land next to a brand new turnpike road. Upon this plot, he built a beautiful, warm, cosy haven where weary travellers could enjoy a drink and a bite to eat. The weather at this location was often inclement, and Mr Ryle’s Inn soon became a necessary stop when travelling between the towns of Macclesfield and Buxton. He named his Inn, The Cat & Fiddle.
The Inn thrives
Over the years, the Inn has played a part in many stories. Some personal, some more of international importance (Charles Rolls regularly used it as stop-off whilst testing cars for his fledgling business with a Mr Royce).
The Robinsons family purchase the Cat & Fiddle. A much loved Inn that remains in their ownership.
The Inn struggles to survive
Over the last few decades, like many other pubs, the Inn struggled to survive as a business. Several factors are to blame, but it’s remote, yet beautiful location certainly didn’t help to encourage drinkers to visit and spend time.
The Inn closes its doors
The Cat & Fiddle closed its doors on Chrismas Eve for the last time as a pub. The Robinson family worked hard to find the right partner, with the right business plan, who could take The Cat & Fiddle into a sustainable and successful future – it was clear that The Cat & Fiddle needed to operate as more than a pub.
Forest Gin is born
Meanwhile, as the Inn closed, Forest Gin was just starting. A local family began a small business, selling gin which they distilled in their kitchen, using botanicals from the forest below The Cat & Fiddle. They called the product Forest Gin.
The Forest Distillery needs more room
The Forest Distillery grew fast and was in urgent need of a space to put barrels of freshly distilled spirit to “sleep” for a few years until it was ready to be enjoyed as English Single Malt Whisky. The Cat & Fiddle just happens to have an extensive network of cellars at 1600 feet above sea level with the most perfect conditions for whisky to mature…coincidence or fate?
The Forest moves into The Cat & Fiddle
This iconic pub needed a major transformation to secure its future, including a new environmentally friendly sewage treatment plant and lots of other major refurbishment works, to breathe life in to this legendary hidden gem. In November 2019, we ran a Crowd funder which raised over £55,000 to assist us and Robinsons Brewery to attempt to re-open the Cat & Fiddle as Britains highest altitude distillery.
Renovations are complete!
The Cat & Fiddle has finally been restored to its former glory and is now the home of our award winning Forest Distillery. We hold regular tours around the distillery. Our shop has been opened where you can browse our fantastic range of distillery products along with a large variety of locally sourced goods.
See What We’re Up To
Peek into Forest Distillery’s online and on-site store and purchase some one-of-a-kind goodies and keepsakes, whether you’re gifting yourself or a special someone. Or you could always join us for a tour of our distillery.
Book a tour of our distillery
Details of the bar area
Shop our products
Join us at Cat & Fiddle