Cat & Fiddle New Opening Hours
Please be aware that opening hours may be subject to local weather conditions. Please check our instagram account for the lastest updates
The Cat & Fiddle
Wednesday – Thursday 11am – 5pm
Friday – Saturday 11am – 9pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm
Cat & Fiddle Shop
Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
The curious tale of The Cat and Fiddle (and Weasel)…
Once upon a time…
In 1813 to be historically accurate, 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 and Fiddle (no, we don’t know why either but hey diddle diddle!)
In 2015, the Cat died, and a Weasel was born…
As the doors closed at the pub for the last time, a local family began a small business, selling gin which they distilled in their kitchen, using botanicals from the forest below The Cat and Fiddle. They called the product Forest Gin and it generated huge demand from the world’s best bars, hotels and department stores.
The family quickly rented a barn in the forest, employed some local folk and now they daily distil Forest Gin and Forest Whisky whilst singing twee folk songs and wearing Elf costumes (the costume and songs bit is a blatant lie, but if it helps the story, then great).
2019 A conundrum.
The Cat and Fiddle Inn has been owned by the Robinsons family for nearly 100 years. The family are passionate about supporting pubs and local communities but, despite having invested huge amounts into the building over the years, each successive landlord has found it harder and harder to operate a successful business there. As a simple pub, the trading figures simply don’t justify the investment needed. A lot has changed over the last century and after a lot of careful thought and consideration the family reluctantly decided to close the doors of The Cat and Fiddle.
But that was not the end of the story. For the last 3 years, the Robinsons family have been working hard to find the right partner, with the right business plan, who will take The Cat and Fiddle into a sustainable and successful future. To do this and reach its full potential, it was clear that The Cat and Fiddle needed to operate as more than a pub.
It just so happens that The Forest Distillery is operating at capacity, and is in urgent need of a space to put barrels of freshly distilled spirit to “sleep” for a few years until it is ready to be enjoyed as English Single Malt Whisky. The Cat and 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?
What Happened Next?
We asked our friends, family, supporters and the local community for help to give this tale a happy ending. 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 into this legendary hidden gem. In November 2019, we ran a Crowdfunder which raised over £55,000 to assist us and Robinsons Brewery to attempt to re-open the Cat & Fiddle as Britain’s highest altitude distillery.
If all goes according to plan, then The Cat and Fiddle (and Weasel) will open its doors as a shining jewel on top of the green hills above Macclesfield and Buxton.
Until we have commissioned the water, the electricity and a good roof, we cannot predict exactly what we will have there. However. the very basic bones of the plan are to:
Have an onsite shop with take-away food and drinks for your picnics.
House a Whisky Distillery with the finest cellars in the land.
Create a World-Class tourism site to attract people to our beautiful local area.
Generate employment opportunities for local people, with the added bonus of attracting investment and more visitors to the wider region.
And of course, The Cat and Fiddle, with roaring fires, good food, and the finest drinks for you and your family to enjoy in the years to come.
Forest Distillery Awards
Forest Gin is THE ONLY Gin to have ever been awarded two separate
Double-Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirit Awards
Winner in the Worlds Best 50 Gins 2021
Forest Whisky has been chosen as the BEST WORLD WHISKY
by The Independent Indy100
Gold Medal World Whisky Masters Award 2021