Devon LivingIssue #04

The spirit of distilling

Introducing Cosmo Caddy, owner and founder of Devon Distillery.

Cosmo Caddy, founder of Devon distillery, has quality alcohol production in his DNA. He tells us: “I was brought up around the food and drink world in Devon, my grandfather founded Sharpham Wine and Cheese the year I was born, and I was picking grapes there aged four!”

“…my grandfather founded Sharpham Wine and Cheese the year I was born, and I was picking grapes there aged four!”

Following in his footsteps, Cosmo founded Devon Distillery in 2013 and it has already progressed significantly. Cosmo tells us: “I decided to start my own distillery in Devon when I returned from living in California and spotted that nobody was producing what I consider a wonderful spirit.”

The tantalising spirit that Cosmo is referring to is Grappa, an Italian made delicate and smooth post-dinner tincture, with a beautifully warming effect. Grappa is a form of pomace brandy, made from the skins, pulp and seeds of grapes.

Cosmo explains: “Knowing the team at Sharpham, and knowing I could get pomace from them each year, I set about with the plan of making the first grappa in the UK. After visiting Italy to sample the wonderful array of grappa that they produce and to meet professional distillers, I was ready to commission our very own bespoke grappa still.”

Devon Distillery named its version of the spirit Dappa, and the first harvest of this unique spirit was made in October 2013, Cosmo elaborates: “By our first harvest I had also been in touch with other UK vineyards to work with them and secure as much pomace as I could. We are still finding new and exciting vineyards and wineries that produce exceptional red wines from which we can then upcycle the skins.” Transforming a waste product from the wine industry into a premium and sophisticated spirit. Devon Distillery immediately started winning awards following the production of the first bottles of Dappa; it was granted silver at IWSC in 2014 and achieved a two star award with Great Taste, in an on-going flow of recognition from the spirit industry.

Following his sister’s wedding, Cosmo was inspired to create Still on the Move and after three and a half years he was ready to launch the UK’s first and only Mobile Gin Distillery, which sits on the back of Ginny, a 1973 VW T2 Pickup van that Cosmo acquired for the project. Ginny allows Devon Distillery to bring the art of distilling to you, Cosmo explains: “Still on the Move launched publicly in 2017 and has been instantly popular. Being able to make a custom gin for anyone, anywhere, has proven to be very exciting. In one sitting with Ginny, we can produce between 27-140 bottles of gin, which takes a few hours and has proven to be a total success with clients.” From bars and restaurants, to hotels and weddings, the chance to produce a bespoke gin at a reasonable price has been extremely popular. Still on the Move has already been lucky enough to travel the length and breadth of the country and has even made gin for the Royal Navy on the flight deck of HMS Ocean, with one of the bottles subsequently being presented to the Queen herself!

It’s clear that Cosmo really has found a niche in the market both with Dappa and Still on the Move and it doesn’t stop there! The most recent endeavour that Cosmo and his team have undertaken is to open a gin school, Cosmo tells us: “We are extremely proud to be opening Devon Gin School on our new premises in Dartington. We will be hosting groups of people to come and learn about gin making, produce a bottle of gin under our gentle guidance and even design their own labels,” so you can discover the art of gin making and create a bespoke bottle of your very own handcrafted gin.

So, get involved! Either through simply purchasing a beautifully crafted bottle of Dappa, making your own gin with Still on the Move, or learning the nuances behind the distilling process at Devon Gin School, the opportunities to share in delicious spirits are endless.

" grandfather founded Sharpham Wine and Cheese the year I was born, and I was picking grapes there aged four!"