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Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham wants to add rum to spirits line-up

One of the county’s leading high-end distilleries is planning to add rum to its portfolio as it looks to expand its range.

The Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham has already won plaudits for its range of gin and vodkas which are stocked in the likes of Waitrose, Selfridges, Harrods and a host of independent retailers.

Next year will see its first batch of whisky complete the three-years-and-one-day maturing in oak barrels required, with demand from buyers already registered.

Team behind the Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham
Team behind the Copper Rivet Distillery in Chatham

But, long-term, it hopes to add rum to a line-up which already takes considerable influence from its former maritime surroundings.

Explains boss Bob Russell: “We’re a family business and want to endure. We want generations to come working here and offering employment to people.

“We already have 10 full time staff and 15 part time and we want to expand our portfolio.

Copper Rivet is hoping to expand into rum production
Copper Rivet is hoping to expand into rum production

“We’d like to make a rum.”

With its Dockyard Gin and Vela Vodka (vela being the Latin name for sail), and its Son of a Gun (an old naval phrase) grain spirit, its highly anticipated Masthouse Whisky will take its name from a building near its Chatham Dockyard premises.

Adds Mr Russell: “High end retail are keen and I think the whisky will sell very well. It’s tasting really special.”

Copper Rivet Distillery has a range of spirits acknowledging its location
Copper Rivet Distillery has a range of spirits acknowledging its location

With all the grains for its spirits grown on a farm on Sheppey, all aspects of the drinks’ creation are centred in the county.

And with its gin now being exported for sale in Singapore airport’s duty free store, its reputation is growing across the world.

Copper Rivet was founded in 2014 by Mr Russell and his two sons, Stephen and Matthew. Together they created the distillery which has attracted some 20,000 visitors keen to tour the site over the last two years alone.

Copper Rivet harvesting its crops on Sheppey
Copper Rivet harvesting its crops on Sheppey

For Mr Russell, it is the delivery of a long-held dream.

He explains: “I often say I’ve been steeped in alcohol since 1980 - my first business was in Rainham when I opened a wine bar and subsequently I opened some off-licences and then I started importing wines and spirits and supplying local restaurants.

“Over time it grew I thought it would be nice to create my own brand of spirits instead of selling other peoples - so best way to do that was to build my distillery.

Our spirits has provenance. If you put our batch code into our website, it will take you to the field in which that spirit was born

“We work with a local farmer on Sheppey. We specify the grains we want, so they grow wheat, barley and rye and bring that to the distillery in grain form, which we mill to our requirements.

“Our spirits has provenance. If you put our batch code into our website, it will take you to the field in which that spirit was born.”

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