From the moment the distillery was a twinkle in our eye, we knew it would be different. Not different for different’s sake, but different to be better; to be more sustainable, more thoughtful, more considerate of the world around us. With every step of the distilling process carried out with care – from harvesting genetically diverse ancient heritage grains to making our own grain neutral spirit, we knew our stills had to fit our ethos too.
We were never going to import a set of stills from a faraway land, and as still making in England is very rare, our best option was to commission them from scratch. And so began our collaboration with Paul Pridham and South Devon Railway Engineering, some of the last great historical industrial coppersmiths in England, famous for their refurbishment of the Flying Scotsman.
While we wanted our stills to be functional and to work brilliantly, we also wanted them to be exceptional in every way. So they had to make fantastic spirits, but they also had to be something to behold.
Taking cues from the best of distilling practice, the romance of steam, Victorian engineering, old diving helmets and imagery from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, our two copper stills were born; Nautilus, our 2,400-litre still, and his 500-litre partner-in-crime, Nemo, weighing in at 940kg and 380kg respectively, together with two five metre tall, 40-plate copper distillation columns.
As Paul Pridham said of their creation:
“There were so many different skills utilised, from welders, to machinists, fitters and plate workers. We used traditional casting methods to create connecting rings for the body of the still and 1000 copper rivets to hold it together. We installed an original porthole salvaged from a ship decommissioned in India to provide a diver’s helmet style opening for cleaning and maintenance, and made others out of brass. It truly was a labour of love.”
Book your place on one of our distillery tours, where you can learn how we make our spirits from seed-to-still – and into the bottle – and get up close and personal with both Nautilus and Nemo in our still house.