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Copper Rivet celebrates 2017 grain harvest

Copper Rivet Distillery, the family owned distiller on the River Medway in Kent is celebrating its first vodka and gin from the 2017 grain harvest.

Within 10 days of leaving the field, the first of the local grains have been transformed by its team of distillers into Copper Rivet Distillery’s pure grain spirit the base for its Vela Vodka and Dockyard Gin.

Stephen Russell, co-founder of Copper Rivet Distillery comments: “It only takes half an hour by tractor or 90 minutes by boat for the grains to arrive from the fields on the neighbouring Isle of Sheppey to the distillery. This year we used a tractor, but next year we have our eye on hiring a fast rib to bring the harvest by river, as our beautiful distillery sits right on the edge of the river. 

“Situated beside the River Medway in the Chatham Dockyard in Kent, our stunning red brick distillery is one of only six in the UK to distil from grain to glass. Almost all other UK craft distillers buy their neutral spirit from a supplier, before adding their own botanicals. But at Copper Rivet Distillery we wanted to know exactly what goes into our spirit and its provenance so that we control every element of the quality. We have contracted the local Burden family to grow our holy trinity of cereals for distilling – wheat, barley and rye. We believe that our latest distillation has resulted in Britain’s first vodka and gin from this year’s cereal harvest. This unique mix of local ingredients gives complexity and depth to all our spirits.

“We only started distilling in October 2016, but our spirits are already multi Gold and Silver award winners at both the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and the International Wine and Spirit Competition. Our three stills were made for us to our own designs by local Chatham Coppersmiths, whose forefathers would have fashioned the great Naval ships and submarines for which the Dockyard was famous.  So these really are local spirits!” 

Copper Rivet Distillery’s range already includes Dockyard Gin £28.50 per 50cl, Vela Vodka £27.50 per 50cl, and a cask finished grain spirit called Son of a Gun £30 per 50cl. In addition, Masthouse Single Malt Whiskies will be available from 2020, once they have matured in barrel.

They are available through: and

26 August 2017 - Sam Coyne The Drinks Report, news editor