Copeland Distillery: Inside Northern Ireland’s most innovative artisanal distillery



Located 40 minutes from Belfast and a few meters from the historic port of Donaghadee is the Copeland Distillery.

Producing a range of Irish gins, rums and whiskey, Copeland is one of Ireland’s most innovative and fastest growing distilleries.

Founded in 2016 by Gareth Irvine with the help of funds raised through crowdfunding, Copeland moved into its current home in 2019, revitalizing the old cinema and the site of the Ards bottling company that have remained unoccupied for more than 20 years.

The distillery is now home to their award-winning Classic Irish and Navy Strength gins, cask-aged rums and a new range of malt and potstill whiskeys that are currently maturing ahead of their release from 2024.

The newest addition to Copeland’s Smuggler’s Reserve collection – Grand Cru Bordeaux Edition

The Grand Cru Bordeaux edition is the fourth edition since the release of our first two rums in October 2020 and is a unique and limited edition.

At Copeland Distillery, everything they do is inspired by their own story and their new rum is no exception.

In 1633, French wine came to Co Down thanks to James Hamilton Jr, who was touring Europe.

He wrote to his father at Killyleagh Castle, asking him to send a boat and £ 350 to Bordeaux to import a direct shipment of the region’s famous wine to Ireland. In honor of this, the distillery has worked with a selected French estate to source the highest quality barrels to deliver a superior taste and aroma worthy of Bordeaux Grand Cru red wine.

The distillery has three copper stills, two whiskey stills and a gin still, named Betty, Hessie and Pam in honor of the founder’s grandmothers and mother.

Their rum is a blend of three to five year old Barbadian dark rum and double distilled rum produced in the Copeland Distillery. After 336 hours of fermentation, the alcohol passes through the copper stills; Betty a 600l still and Hessie the 500l still, before a precise cut is made to the heads (the first part of the alcohol that is collected). This guarantees the best taste and the best possible balance.

Their carefully selected Barbadian rum has been aged in Kentucky bourbon casks, along with their own Copeland rum aged in Quarter bourbon casks. After eight months in these heavy first fill American oak barrels, they transfer the alcohol to 8 Premier One, French Grand Cru barrels to finish the rum for a period of four months.

With these barrels having contained some of the most prestigious Bordeaux wines of 2020, the aromatic profiles are robust and full.

To learn more about the Copeland Distillery, visit Exclusively available for commerce via DrinksInc


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