McMillan Coppersmiths

Timeless designs that are full of character

Our highly-skilled coppersmiths turn sheet metal into your iconic copper pot stills, using methods and techniques passed down through the generations. Whether you want a copper pot still for making whisky or rum, our tradesman have been trusted by many famous brands to bring these to life.

We also understand that you often want to maintain your distillery and stills, and so have established the McMillan Coppersmiths After-Market Distillery Support Service, offering free thickness checks for copper pot stills and condensers.


McMillan’s Masterful Craftsmanship: The Art of Coppersmithing in Crafting Iconic Stills

Coppersmithing is highly significant in the manufacture of copper pot stills used in the whisky industry. Copper pot stills have been a traditional and essential component of whisky production for centuries, and the craftsmanship of coppersmiths plays a critical role in creating these iconic distillation vessels.

Tradition and Craftsmanship

Whisky production has a rich history, and the use of copper pot stills is deeply rooted in tradition. Coppersmiths employ age-old techniques, skills, and craftsmanship passed down through generations to create these stills. They take great pride in their work, ensuring that each still is unique and crafted with precision.

Material Selection

Coppersmiths are experts in selecting the appropriate grade of copper for pot still construction. The quality and purity of copper used can impact the taste and character of the whisky produced. Coppersmiths know how to choose copper that is ideal for heat conductivity and its interaction with the distillate during the process.

Shaping and Forming:

Creating a functional and efficient pot still requires shaping and forming the copper sheets into the desired vessel. Coppersmiths use specialised tools and techniques to shape the copper into the proper size and form, taking into account factors such as the still’s neck, lyne arm, and swan neck design.

Welding and Sealing

Copper pot stills are typically made from multiple copper parts that need to be meticulously welded and sealed together. Coppersmiths ensure that the seams are properly joined to prevent any leakage during the distillation process.

Size and Capacity

Coppersmiths can tailor the size and capacity of the pot stills to the distillery’s specific needs. Whether it’s a small artisanal distillery or a large-scale whisky producer, coppersmiths can create pot stills of various sizes to suit the production requirements.

Heat Conductivity

Copper is an excellent conductor of heat, and this property is vital in the distillation process. Coppersmiths design pot stills to ensure efficient heat transfer, enabling the proper separation of alcohol vapours from other components during distillation.

Interaction with Spirit

Copper interacts with the spirit being distilled, removing certain impurities and contributing to the desired flavours and aromas of the final whisky product. Coppersmiths understand how the shape and surface area of the pot stills can influence this interaction and can tailor the design accordingly.

Durability and Longevity

Coppersmiths’ expertise ensures that the copper pot stills are built to last for many years. They take into consideration the wear and tear that stills endure during their operational life, making them durable and reliable for long-term use.

Coppersmithing is of utmost importance in the manufacture of copper pot stills for the whisky industry. The skills, artistry, and knowledge of coppersmiths contribute to the production of high-quality pot stills that play a fundamental role in shaping the flavour and character of whisky during the distillation process.


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Revolutionising Caribbean Rum Production

Rum production in the Caribbean is a fascinating blend of tradition, innovation, and environmental factors that shape the distinctive character of this beloved spirit. Two primary types of stills play a crucial role in the process: pot stills and column stills.

Pot Stills

These traditional copper stills have been used for centuries in Caribbean rum production. They are relatively small and batch-based, allowing for the creation of flavourful, artisanal rums. Pot stills operate by heating the fermented molasses or sugarcane juice to produce alcohol vapour, which then condenses and transforms into the final spirit. The use of pot stills contributes to the rich and complex flavors associated with Caribbean rums.

Column Stills

Column stills are a more modern and efficient approach to rum production. These tall, continuous distillation towers enable a higher volume of rum to be produced consistently. They work by separating the alcohol from other components through a series of distillation stages. The result is a lighter, purer spirit, which is often aged further to develop its unique taste profile.

caribbean climate

The Caribbean’s hot and humid climate has a significant impact on the aging and blackening of equipment installed in rum production facilities.

The combination of high temperatures and humidity accelerates the aging process of rum in wooden barrels, giving it a richer taste and aroma. However, this climate can also pose challenges to the equipment used in the production process.

The heat and humidity can lead to corrosion and wear and tear on the machinery, especially for older facilities that may have aging infrastructure. This is where engineering companies specialising in equipment service and repair become crucial. Regular maintenance and expertise in dealing with the specific environmental conditions are essential to ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of the equipment.


The rich Caribbean culture plays a vital role in rum production. The craftsmanship and techniques passed down through generations contribute to the region’s unique rum-making heritage. It’s a combination of both traditional methods and modern innovations that make Caribbean rum production truly special.

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mount gay rum

Focus on: Mount Gay Rum

Mount Gay Rum is renowned for its distinct spirit character, boasting a smooth and well-balanced taste profile with subtle notes of oak and tropical fruits.

The brand achieves this exceptional flavour through a combination of both traditional pot stills and modern column stills, showcasing a harmonious blend of time-honored craftsmanship and innovative distillation techniques.

Agave Based Spirits

Briggs has a deep understanding of tequila and mezcal production processes

We are committed to providing engineering services across Mexico, from concept through to commissioning and beyond, with after-sales, service and repair support.

Our expert team can guide and demonstrate ‘best available’ technology selection and transfer to new applications.

We know and understand traditional, modern and hybrid production processes for agave-based spirits:

  • Small production: more than 10,000 L/day (at 55% ABV)
  • Industrial (>100kL per day at 55% ABV)

We understand requirements can include:

  • Varying production scales
  • Product types (Blanco, Reposado, Añejo)
  • VIP and customer experiences
  • Sustainability (carbon, water, energy and the wider environment)
  • Partner with Civil, Structural, and Architects (CSA) to bring projects to life

Our Experience – Various distilleries across Mexico

Raw Materials Handling and Processing

  • Processing and cooking whole agaves and cut agave pieces
  • Masonry ovens & milling (traditional), diffuser & juice conversion (modern) and autoclave & milling (hybrid)


  • Design and construction of stainless steel tanks
  • Familiar with open-top fermenters with wild yeast
  • Familiar with closed-top fermenters with specific yeast strain, fermenter cooling and yeast propagation
  • Familiarity with “set back” across a range of distilled spirits


  • Design and construction of stainless steel stills from 5,000 litres to 30,000 litres, including copper worm tubs.
  • Alambique Pot Stills (Traditional), Distillation Columns (Modern), Combined Column and Pot Still operation (Hybrid)
various distilleries across mexico

various distilleries across Mexico

agave plant

Tequila and mezcal are both agave-based spirits from Mexico, but their main difference lies in their production regions and agave varieties. Tequila is made primarily from blue agave in specific regions like Jalisco, while mezcal can be produced from various agave species and comes from different regions, resulting in distinct flavour profiles and production methods.

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White Spirits

Supporting distilleries in producing white spirits such as Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS), vodka, and gin at every scale.

Briggs of Burton and McMillan Coppersmiths are industry leaders, with Briggs specialising in the project delivery of white spirit projects, often collaborating on major sites like Diageo Cameronbridge. Together, they play a crucial role in the production of white spirits, including Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS), vodka, and gin, combining expertise in engineering and distillation equipment provision.

Engineering Services by Briggs of Burton

Briggs of Burton is renowned for its comprehensive engineering services that play a pivotal role in the production of white spirits. Their deep understanding of distillation is utilised to design and optimise the entire production process. They ensure that every aspect, from raw material selection to the final product’s quality, adheres to the highest industry standards. Briggs of Burton’s engineering expertise is instrumental in delivering efficient, high-quality white spirit projects.

Distillation Equipment by McMillan Coppersmiths

On the other hand, McMillan Coppersmiths excels in providing state-of-the-art distillation equipment, which is essential for crafting premium white spirits. Their expertise lies in the design, fabrication, and installation of specialised distillation systems, drawing inspiration from historic copper pot still shapes and traditional finishes. They also lead in technology for vapour infusion and macerated gin distillation systems, often working with brands such as The Lakes Distillery. McMillan Coppersmiths’ equipment ensures precise control over the distillation process, enabling the production of spirits with distinct flavours and characteristics.

Together, Briggs of Burton’s project delivery expertise and McMillan Coppersmiths’ cutting-edge distillation equipment form a dynamic partnership that guarantees the highest quality in white spirits production. Briggs’ engineering excellence complements McMillan’s innovative equipment solutions, resulting in the creation of exceptional vodka and gin, each with its own unique flavour profile.

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    Learn more about our customised solutions and how we can help your business grow and thrive with our project delivery focus and bespoke process systems.

International Spirits

Leaders in the Spirits Industry

At Briggs of Burton and McMillan Coppersmiths, we’re industry leaders in spirits with a rich history and commitment to excellence. Briggs of Burton has been instrumental in helping major spirits brands enter the Chinese market, focusing on whiskey. We excel in technology integration, from raw materials to distillation and storage, with a focus on mashing and energy recovery systems.

McMillan Coppersmiths is renowned for crafting copper stills and distillation equipment, known for quality and innovation.

Our skilled teams in China, supported by CIMC Liquid Process Technology (CLPT), ensure success.

As pioneers, we assist Chinese brewers and distillers in exploring international spirits like whiskey, with our expertise and cutting-edge technology.

With Briggs of Burton and McMillan Coppersmiths, you gain a legacy of success and a portfolio of world-famous brands as references.

Briggs has significant experience with technology transfer from other spirits, notably around heat recovery on the condensers of the distiller.

Spirit distillery

I’m truly delighted to have had the opportunity to design, build, and commission a 3 MLPA malt whisky and 30 MLPA grain alcohol distillery for the Shanghai Bacchus company. This project offered me a great experience as an engineer, and it’s a testament to what can be achieved when passion meets precision in the world of distillery engineering.”

Pritpal Singh, Lead Process Engineer

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Briggs BrewStillery™

Unlock New Opportunities in Distilled Spirits with Briggs BrewStillery™

Are you a brewery looking to expand into the world of distilled spirits, diversify your product offerings, and maximise your existing resources? Look no further than the Briggs BrewStillery™ – your gateway to versatile, spirit production.

Key Benefits

  • Diversify Your Portfolio: Briggs BrewStillery™ empowers breweries to venture into distilled spirits, enabling exciting product diversification.
  • Seamless Integration: This innovative solution seamlessly integrates with your existing brewery production system and utilities, making it a convenient addition to your operations.
  • Resource Efficiency: Harness the power of flexible production using your current raw materials. Adjust your product split based on demand, allowing for efficient resource utilisation.
  • Versatile Spirit Production: With Briggs BrewStillery™, you can transform brewery wort or beer into a remarkable array of spirits, including whiskies, grain neutral spirits, vodka base, shine, and gin.

Main Features

  • Hybrid Distillation Process: Briggs BrewStillery™ combines the best of both worlds with a fusion of Pot Still (Batch) and Column Distillation (Continuous) processes. This blend enables you to craft a diverse range of exceptional distilled spirits.
  • Tailored Product Creation: Depending on your desired spirit, beer flows into the pot still and then through the short or tall rectification column. Copper and stainless steel distillation system sections play a pivotal role in influencing flavour profiles and optimising heat transfer.
  • Precision Distillation: Through careful heating and boiling, beer undergoes distillation to enhance its alcohol concentration. The result is a refined, high-quality spirit ready for collection after condensation.
  • Crafting Artisanal Gin: Unleash your creativity by adding botanicals to the copper pot or infusion basket. Briggs BrewStillery™ empowers you to produce distinctive and artisanal gin with ease.

Experience the future of brewing and distillation with Briggs BrewStillery™ – where innovation meets tradition, and endless possibilities await.

New Product Development (NPD)

Our BrewStillery™, often referred to as a ‘Distillery Kitchen,’ is our answer to New Product Development (NPD), allowing customers to craft new flavours and expressions.

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Focus on: Spoetzl Brewery

Spoetzl Brewery, owned by the Gambrinus Group and located in Shiner, Texas, has elevated its craft with the adoption of a Briggs BrewStillery, enabling the production of a diverse range of spirits alongside its renowned beers.

Hard Seltzer

Hard Seltzer Systems: Brewing a path to diversity in the beverage sector

Navigating the Hard Seltzer Production Process

Crafting hard seltzer can be a complicated endeavour, depending on scale and the number of recipes. However, rest assured that Briggs of Burton, as the go-to engineering company for breweries entering the hard seltzer market, is here to provide expert support and guidance. Our expertise in project management, process engineering, and process know-how ensures a smooth and successful journey into this burgeoning market.

Brewing Diversity: The Rise of Hard Seltzer

Explore how Briggs of Burton, with their extensive expertise, can help breweries capitalise on the low calorie and refreshing appeal of hard seltzer, offering guidance in process integration of 3rd party packages.

From Wort to Can: Crafting Hard Seltzer Step by Step with Briggs of Burton

Follow the journey of hard seltzer production, starting with the fermentation of a sugar-based wort. Briggs of Burton plays a crucial role in making this journey possible through their assistance in consultancy, process engineering, commissioning, and automation experience.

Flavourful Fizz: Adding Zest to Hard Seltzer

Learn how Briggs of Burton’s support in process integration of 3rd party packages enables breweries to infuse natural fruit flavors, creating signature tastes from citrus to tropical notes.

Quality Assurance: Ensuring the Perfect Hard Seltzer

Delve into the stringent quality control measures that ensure a consistent and safe product, all backed by Briggs of Burton’s expertise in process engineering.

Brewing for the Future: Upgrading for Hard Seltzer Production with Briggs of Burton

Explore how Briggs of Burton facilitates the expansion and enhancement of breweries to accommodate hard seltzer production, offering their expert guidance through project management and control system upgrades.

Flexibility in Recipes: Adapting to Customer Needs

See how Briggs of Burton empowers breweries to support their customers with flexible processes, allowing for diverse recipe options with their unmatched process know-how.

Tank Solutions: Supplying Large Tanks via Ziemann Holvrieka

Understand how Ziemann Holvrieka, in collaboration with Briggs of Burton, provides breweries with the capability to supply large tanks, a critical component of hard seltzer production.

grapefruit cucumber mix in drink

Different manufacturers may have slight variations in their hard seltzer production processes. Additionally, some producers may use alternative methods, like adding alcohol to carbonated water or using fermentation of sugar to produce alcohol, as opposed to brewing a traditional wort.

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Lager, Ale and Hybrid

Realising safe, efficient, and sustainable brewery projects

Briggs are experts in site master planning, experienced in changing an
existing site to add new product lines along with building modern breweries
with flexible production in both capacity and recipes. We offer:

  • A long brewing heritage.
  • Specialist process equipment.
  • Step-change in energy and water usage through ‘Brewery of the Future’ project.
  • Established working relationships with many famous brands.
  • Stainless steel tanks from across our Group.
sustainable brewery projects

Helping brewers pivot and diversify their product portfolio

Ales and lagers are two primary categories of beer, each distinguished by their fermentation process and flavour profiles. Ales are brewed using top-fermenting yeast strains at higher temperatures (typically between 60-72°F or 15-22°C). This process results in a quicker fermentation and produces beers with a wide range of flavours, from fruity and complex to robust and bitter. Common types of ales include pale ales, IPAs (India Pale Ales), stouts, porters, and Belgian ales.

On the other hand, lagers are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast strains at cooler temperatures (usually between 44-55°F or 7-13°C). The fermentation process is slower and takes place over several weeks or even months. This longer, colder fermentation results in beers that are generally clean, crisp, and smooth, with less fruity ester flavours. Classic examples of lagers include pilsners, bocks, Märzen and American lagers.

Hybrid beers, also known as mixed-style beers, are a category that combines elements of both ales and lagers or blends characteristics from various beer styles. Brewers may experiment with different yeast strains, fermentation temperatures, and ingredients to create unique and innovative brews. For instance, California Common (or Steam Beer) is a hybrid beer that uses lager yeast fermented at ale temperatures. The result is a beer with both the clean characteristics of a lager and the fruity and complex flavours typically associated with ales. Hybrid beers offer a creative playground for brewers, allowing them to push the boundaries of traditional beer styles and produce exciting new taste experiences.

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Pressurised Metered-Dose Inhalers (pMDIs)

Next Generation Propellants

We offer greener propellants, being introduced to reduce the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of pMDI’s.

  • Developed designs for a pilot and commercial scale mixing system.
  • Experienced in helping existing and new customers transition between their current and next generation systems.
  • Evolving the design of our pilot and commercial mixing systems to incorporate the latest sustainable technologies for HFA152a and HFO1234ze propellants.
  • Ex/ATEX compliant for mixing flammable substances.
  • FDA compliant for mixing pharmaceutical products.
Next Generation Propellants



Giusti is a legacy Briggs of Burton brand, acquired in the late 80’s and with it brought an extensive back-catalogue of mechanical designs to process everything from ice cream to Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) suspended in a propellant gas as part of a pMDI system.

Many pharmaceutical, health and beauty, and food customers may have a Giusti process system. The experience and technologies were incorporated into Briggs of Burtons’ standards and mechanical design. Future projects across these industrial sectors will be presented with Briggs of Burton, combining the work of Giusti with larger resource and capability of delivering a complete project.


Giusti forms the core of Briggs Food Cooking and Mixing Technology, with Giustimix and the Vesuvio Cook-Cool system, along with Pharmaceutical Mixing systems including Pharmix.

Customers with legacy Giusti equipment can contact the After-Market team for spares, service, support, and/or replacement of equipment. This is all managed through Briggs of Burton.


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    Learn more about our customised solutions and how we can help your business grow and thrive with our project delivery focus and bespoke process systems.