Shine On

Get your shine on down in Havasu with a visit to Copper Still Distillery. Andy and Carri Andersen opened the distillery in September 2018 where they handcraft several different flavored spirits.
Hava Shine is their clear corn whisky base for all of their flavors. The blend of corn and cane gives this corn liquor a smooth finish instead of the harsh bite typically associated with moonshine.
“A lot of people are turned off as soon as you say moonshine,” Andersen said. “Because they’ve had that commercialized store product that people make so much of it so fast that it burns your throat, it burns your mouth — but mine’s not like that. We’ve turned many people onto the moonshine because mine is smooth, you can still feel the heat but it doesn’t burn going down.”
Andy had been making liquor at home just for fun but decided to take his venture to the next level.
“I was just making liquor in my garage having fun and the hobby turned into a career now,’ Andersen said. “I’ve been making beer since I was about 16. I just got tired of making beer, so I decided to play with something different and I’m constantly trying new flavors all the time.”
Whisky is his drink of choice, and therefore his main product. He bottles most of it directly from the still, making it moonshine, but he also has started barrel-aging a portion of his product to make whisky.
“Basically I start with cracked corn and put it in the fermenter with yeast, enzymes and sugar, let it ferment and the sugar turns to alcohol,” Andersen explained. “Then I transfer it into my stills. I have two copper stills — one does the whisky and one for vodka.
“Everything is done right here. I do all of the mashing, I run the still, I do the flavoring, the bottling, hand-label it — I do it all by hand,” he said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s been fun.”
Andersen explained that his whisky is spelled without the ‘e’ because of his distilling process.
“To be an official whiskey it has to be naturally fermented,” he said. “You can’t add sugar, you’re using the sugar from the corn itself. The problem is, it takes twice as long to ferment, so we add sugar. It makes it sweeter, makes it better and faster.”
Andersen adds fun flavors that quickly became fan favorites, like his peanut butter and root beer whiskys. You can’t go wrong with a cocktail that tastes like a Reese’s peanut butter cup or a root beer float. A couple of new blends at Copper Still include lemonade and chocolate whisky.
Aside from the whisky, Copper Still offers several flavors of vodka, like jalapeño and cucumber, as well as a new venture into rum. Andersen makes a clean silver rum and a new coconut rum, both without molasses or barrel aging.
Three of his spirits just won medals at the 2020 Finger Lakes International Wine & Spirits Competition.
“I entered three of my liquors for the first time into a ‘blind judging’ contest. This means the judges don’t get to see the bottle. The sample is passed out in small taster cups and they judge on the smell, flavor and after taste,” Andersen said. “I went up against 200 other distilleries, some of which are very well known. My Jalapeno Vodka took gold, Havasu Vodka took silver and Peanut Butter Whisky took silver.”
Copper Still recently began offering a special line of cigars and hosting cigar and whisky pairing events.
“I offer cigars that are not found elsewhere in Lake Havasu,” Andersen said. “Casa Cuevas line is offered here and pairs very nicely with my whiskys. I had the fourth and fifth generation owners of Casa Cuevas cigars be my special guests at our March pairing event. Luis and Alex Cueva flew from Miami to speak to our customers about the cigar business and attendees received one Casa Cuevas cigar and two of our whisky cocktails to go with it.”
Pick up a top of the line Casa Cuevas cigar at the distillery and try it with Copper Still’s oak flavored whisky or their famous old fashioned.
Carri is the head mixologist and creates delicious one-of-a-kind cocktails with their house spirits. Try a Bee Keeper made with their Honey Doo moonshine or a Spa H2O made with cucumber vodka, club soda and mint. The drink menu has endless options from sweet to stout, refreshing or spicy.
Stop in to try one of Carri’s cocktail creations or taste test a few funky flavors. They offer a flight with four half-ounce pours or you can order a single taster, which is a quarter-ounce pour.
You can also try a moonshine cherry, or one of their custom shots, like the Cherry Bomb Kiss. Regular and shooter-sized bottles are available to purchase in house.
You can grab a bite to eat while you sip on some whisky, as they opened a kitchen inside the distillery last year and offer bar food like pizza, wings and hot dogs, from noon-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
The distillery is unique from the typical bar scene and all demographics are welcome to stop in, enjoy a drink and some friendly conversation, and maybe even join in on a game of Jenga.
“We have a lot of single ladies come in because it’s not a bar atmosphere. They like to come in and relax without the harassment,” Andersen said. “It’s kind of homey, you walk in the front and there’s my wife’s porch with the rocking chairs. She tried to make it very comfortable for everybody.
“We also have Jenga, we’ve got Connect 4, we have Checkers. I don’t want video games, our games are old-school. It’s people one-on-one connecting with other people. Everybody’s interacting and having fun.”
The distillery is open Tuesday-Friday (noon-10 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m.-10 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m.-6 p.m.). Ladies Night is Thursday, with ladies receiving $1 off cocktails. Happy Hour ($1 off cocktails) is from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and all day Sunday.
The distillery is at 1600 W. Acoma Blvd., Suite 65, in Lake Havasu City.
They are expanding their reach — aside from being served in several bars in Lake Havasu — their spirits can be found in the Bullhead City Sam’s Club and the Fort Mohave Food Store.
You can also get your hands on a bottle by ordering online at copperstilldistillery.com and they will ship anywhere nationwide (with the exception of a few dry states).
Follow Copper Still Distillery on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the new flavors and cocktails they are working on.