Copper Rivet Distillery, based in Chatham, Kent, has launched a Charter which lays down clear standards for how it makes its Masthouse Whisky which is due for release in 2020.
The Charter set out standards for how Masthouse Whisky is made and the team hopes it will generate a discussion with other English distilleries on the parameters for how high-quality English whisky is made, whilst the category is still in its infancy.
Copper Rivet started distilling in late 2016, set up by the local Russell family. In the two years since its launch, the distillery has gained nationwide distribution for its Vela Vodka and Dockyard Gin. But championing a new English whisky category has always been an important dream for the family, and a good proportion of their production has, since the outset, been dedicated to distilling and maturing their Masthouse English whisky.
According to Copper Rivet’s co-founder Stephen Russell, some of the issues which could be addressed are:
· What should be the rule on age statements, when whisky is a blend?
· What additives should be allowed, and if any are, at what stage in the process?
· Under what conditions should the ageing of the whisky take place?
· What standards should there be re: the provenance of grains?
· Which grains should be permitted?
· What woods should be permitted for maturing the whiskies, and in what formats?
· How much of the process should be undertaken by the distillery?
· Should we restrict the type of stills used, as in Scotland?
· What should minimum and maximum distilling ABVs
· Where must it be bottled: in England; in county of origin?
Stephen Russell adds: “All the above issues and more need discussion with the WSTA and with pioneering distillers like St George’s, Lakes, Cotswold, Hicks & Healey, Adnams and others, who are already marketing finished whiskies.
“We think that, being a new category, it’s important to allow flexibility for distilleries to innovate and for regions to define a character to their spirit, which may be unique. But we believe that we should could come together to thrash out some common, minimum standards which can serve as a form of guarantee to consumers and signals to the industry how serious we are about the quality of our whisky.
“We feel that we all need to work together to underpin the integrity of the emerging English Whisky category. In the meantime, we have set out standards for how we are making Masthouse Whisky.
“We are determined to go that extra mile to make English whisky really special, and we look forward to working with others to create a bright future for the English Whisky category”.
The Home of Masthouse Whisky, Copper Rivet Distillery based in Chatham, Kent
· Masthouse Whisky will be released in 2020
· Son of a Gun, a cask-finished English Grain Spirit aged 2 months in barrel, is available here: