Creating a micro distillery to produce the UK’s very first grape marc spirit started in early 2013. Devon Distillery moved into a redundant barn on a farmstead in South Devon, and set to work, first of all, to make the space fit for the purpose of running a distillery.
Also early in 2013, we started engaging with production specialists and distillation process designers at Frilli Impianti in Italy to fabricate the perfect pot still, cauldrons and ancillary equipment for the scale and quality that was desired at Devon Distillery.
By July the distillery equipment had finished being custom-made and was waiting for collection. Cosmo Caddy, the founder of Devon Distillery, hitched a trailer to his truck and set off for Italy to bring back to Devon the equipment, in time to fit with what was fast becoming a very tight construction timeline.
Covering almost 3,000 miles in three days, with the magnificent copper equipment secured to the trailer, and in every available bit of space in the truck too, Cosmo arrive back at the distillery. With the help of friends the trailer was unloaded and the equipment could start to be assembled.
With time ticking by and the grape harvest getting closer and closer, the equipment started to take shape in the distillery. It was with the help of great and hearty friends that the very heavy pieces were moved into place. Cosmo and Rob, one of the most useful people ever known, spent days aligning and adjusting positions. Great care and attention to detail was used to place each piece of the distillery puzzle into just the right place; not only ensuring the product quality would be maintained but also that it was going to be an energy-efficient process as well.
At the end of September, with the grape harvest only a few days from starting, the specialist steam pipe installer, Richard, arrived. Travelling from half way across the UK for the job, Richard set to work fitting all the individual pieces together so that every aspect could work together in harmony.
With less than a week before the first skins were due to be collected, the power for the steam generator arrived and the whole system could be tested. Not a single leak was evident … anywhere.
The first skins arrived from Sharpham Vineyard in the late afternoon of the 18th October and by 17:45 the very first drops of Dappa were being collected in the receiving tank. Many more trailer-loads of grape skins, from many wonderful vineyards followed suit and the process was honed over the following five weeks of production.