Copeland Spirits has won approval to open a 6,500 sq ft distillery, visitor centre and events space in Donaghadee in County Down by mid-summer.
The £600k development will allow the company to develop its existing gin range and move into new markets, including whisky, as part of a 125-year lease. It will also create jobs in areas such as retail and events.
The new site, which will replace the firm's existing Saintfield base, will maintain much of the original features of the historic building, and will feature the 3.3 metre-high still made by the world-renowned German coppersmith, Arnold Holstein.
Earlier this year, Copeland welcomed their new Head Distiller, William Stafford, who will be responsible for the day to day distilling of gin, as well as future spirits such as the brand’s plans for whiskey. Stafford’s extensive experience coupled with his passion to create unique blends of premium spirits will see The Copeland Distillery break new boundaries in the spirit industry.
Founder Gareth Irvine (pictured) 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.
“Our long-term ambition is to create a world-class distillery with a wide portfolio of spirits that offers the consumer, at home and abroad, a taste of Northern Ireland’s craftsmanship and history in the most authentic way possible.
'Establishing our permanent home in Donaghadee is the new start of this journey, and with a 125-year lease on the building we envisage being part of Northern Ireland’s future story for quite some time.
Irvine continued, “We are incredibly excited to move into whiskey – an industry that is targeting global sales of 12 million cases by 2020 and with growing interest from new markets for us including Russia. The category offers more than enough potential for a new player and our distillery will bring something fresh, energetic and imaginative to it.
'Our flavoured range of 37.8 percent gins are already a huge success across Northern Ireland, wider UK, Ireland and Europe so we feel it’s the right time to bring something new to the market.