We wanted to design and build our own stills with the help of artisans and engineers who share The Oxford Artisan Distillery's ideals on craft and total provenance.
Inspired by the decision to build a copper still from scratch, 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. The Oxford Artisan Distillery approached South Devon Railway Engineering, steam engine craftsmen and some of the last great historical industrial coppersmiths in England.
After a two year project, the team had created two copper contraptions – a 2,400 litres still named Nautilus, in honour of Verne’s fictional submarine, and its 500-litre counterpart, the appropriately dubbed Nemo. Together with two five metres tall copper distillation columns, with a total of 42-plates, the stills give us a unique taste and all the flexibility we need to experiment and refine our spirits.
“We had never built anything of this nature before, but I can honestly say every single one of us enjoyed the challenge…It truly was a labour of love and one we’d jump at doing again.”
— South Devon Railway Engineering