Copeland Spirits of Co. Down has confirmed that its planning application to develop a distillery and visitor centre in the harbour town of Donaghadee has been approved.

The company’s move marks its 125-year commitment to the area, its plans to develop its existing gin range and its ambition to move into new spirits categories, including whiskey.

Work on the 6,500 sq ft site began in late November last year, with the project due to revitalise what was once a community centre and picture house, unoccupied for approximately 20 years.

The new site will include a visitor centre, event space and a fully operational gin and whiskey distillery, supporting the Copeland Spirits brand to build on its current gin portfolio and introduce new brand offerings from later this year.

The distillery is committed to maintaining as many original features of the historic building as possible – the main floor of the distillery will house a 3.3m high still made by German coppersmith, Arnold Holstein.

Copeland welcomed their new Head Distiller, William Stafford, earlier this year, who will be responsible for the day to day distilling of gin, as well as future spirits.

On completion of the new project, Copeland will move its operations from its current Saintfield premises to the Donaghadee site.

The significant investment not only highlights the brand’s on-going commitment to Northern Ireland but also its exponential growth since it was officially established just over two years ago by now 26 year old, Gareth Irvine.

Founder Gareth Irvine said: “Since our launch in 2016, establishing a distillery and bringing our production closer to the Copeland Islands has been our main ambition. We’ve worked incredibly hard over the last two years to make this a reality and now that planning has been approved and construction is well underway, it’s both rewarding and motivating to see the site being restored to its former glory as the hub of Donaghadee.”

The £600,000 investment managed by the Co. Down-based Urban Property Solutions is expected to last for approximately six months, with the official opening anticipated for mid summer 2019.

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