Who likes Gin, who knows how it’s made, now is the time to find out with a visit to the Copper Rivet Distillery at Chatham, Kent one of the few craft distilleries hidden away in a peaceful setting on the banks of the River Medway.
Pump House No. 5, an original Victorian dockyard building, designed to pump water from one of the dry docks used for naval ship repairs when Chatham had a thriving naval industry. When the dockyard closed in 1984 so the pump house fell into disuse, disrepair and finally abandoned, left to the ravages of time.
The Russell family had long had the ambition of owning a gin distillery in the Medway region. The idea began in 2005 and in 2012 Stephen Russell met with Abhishek Banik in Scotland at the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling. In 2015 whilst visiting Upnor Castle, Pump House No. 5 was first seen across the river by a member of the Russell family and enquiries showed it to be for sale. Once purchased work on transforming the building into a distillery under the watchful eye of Bob, Matthew and Stephen Russell together with Master Distiller Abhishek Banik began. Local craftsmen were used for the building renovation and to wrought the stills in steel and copper. Finally, in the Spring of 2016 the dream came to fruition, the building restored to its former beauty, Copper Rivett Distillery was born and production began. The distillery is fairly unique as the grain is harvested locally, transported to the distillery where the malts and grain are put through the milling machine prior to beginning the brewing and fermenting process. It then remains for the final ‘Wash’ to be turned into Gin, but not only Gin. The ‘Wash’ can be added to by a variety of methods to produce Vodka and Whisky all bottled on the premises. This is a truly start to finish operation. Copper Rivet is a distillery that produces exceptional Gin, Whisky and Vodka with names such as ‘Dock Yard and Son of a Gun Gin, Vela Vodka and Masthouse Whisky. Why Vela I wondered when all the other names appeared associated with the sea and ships. The answer, Vela is a constellation in the southern sky and Latin for the sails of a ship.
Visitors to the distillery will be able to follow the process from beginning to end and, of course, sample the finished products.
Contact: 01634 931122 to arrange a visit. The cost: adults £12 but only £10.80 if over 65 years on Wednesday 2pm sessions only.