Published: 12:15, 29 March 2017
Production of Kent’s first single malt whisky is finally underway at The Copper Rivet Distillery, Chatham Maritime.
And the Medway family who run the venture inside the Victorian Pump House No 5 believe it will rival the finest of Scottish spirits.
The team will officially start to barrel the first of their Masthouse Whisky and begin decanting the first five barrels of their English grain spirit, Son of a Gun, from this week.
These two new consignments complement the current spirit range which includes Dockyard Gin and Vela Vodka.
Copper Rivet is the only spirit maker in the county and one of just a few in the United Kingdom which owns the process of brewing and distilling spirits from “grain to glass” on site.
The whisky is being made following the strict traditions and regulations laid down for Scotch whisky, which requires the spirit to be brewed and distilled on the same site to qualify as a single malt.
It will exclusively feature Kentish spring barley grown especially for the company set up by a Medway family.
Each crop will be malted to master distiller Abhishek Banik’s specification, before being milled, mashed and fermented on site.
The wash will then be distilled twice before being matured in Bourbon oak casks imported from the United States.
Further down the line, the team plan to create a single grain whisky, and further expressions of their single malt including an exceptional sherry cask finished whisky.
The spirit, whose bottle features an illustration of an unknown moustachioed sailor is inspired by the sailors that once served and sailed from Chatham’s Royal Dockyard.
The first batch of Son of A Gun is expected to be on sale in late April 2017. The initial release for Masthouse Whisky is in 2020.
The men behind the venture are Bob Russell and his sons Matthew and Stephen.
Stephen Russell said: “This is an exciting new chapter in The Copper Rivet distillery’s story. It’s rewarding to see our vision for a range of high quality, end to end spirits not only become a reality, but one that consumers and trade customers alike both understand, and are embracing.
“We’ve received a phenomenal response to our gin and vodka, with demand for our small batch premium spirits at such a high pitch, we’re selling out of stock as soon as it hits the shelves.
“With Abhi Banik at the helm, we believe Son of a Gun and Masthouse Whisky will rival even the best Scottish malts.”
Pump House No5 was used to pump out water out of the dry docks and is one of the last dockyard buildings to be brought back into use.