The Copeland Distillery welcomes amendment to licensing order.

New amendment will support the Donaghadee business to attract visitors to the area

Copeland Distillery has today taken advantage of the recent amendments to the Northern Ireland’s Licensing Order 1996 which allows local producers of craft beers and spirits to sell their own products at their own premises. 

The Copeland Distillery, based in Donaghadee, will now be able to sell bottles of its wide portfolio of spirits, including gin, rum and whiskey, to visitors for consumption off-site.

It will also be able to offer samples to visitors who partake in Distillery tours, and in a final change, it can now also operate as a bar on-site for a number of days per week, allowing customers to enjoy Copeland’s range of spirits on-site.

These changes will support Copeland’s domestic growth plans over the next few 12 months and support Donaghadee as a tourist and leisure destination.

Gareth Irvine, Founder at The Copeland Distillery, said: “As a fully-operational Distillery that produces our own award-wining spirits range here on site, these legislation changes are really important. Now we can sell our product, and offer attractive tours complete with sampling which will enhance our Distillery experience and in turn help visitors and jobs to the local area.

“I’m delighted for all our industry colleagues across Northern Ireland. This day has been a long time coming for us all.  Put simply, it was absurd that until now we couldn’t sell or sample our produce on-site, particularly as a business that’s a genuine attraction in Donaghadee, and one that contributes significantly to NI exports. People – locals and tourists alike – pop into the Distillery all the time asking to buy a bottle so it’s a huge shift that we will finally be able to say yes.

“We’re also delighted that this licence award means we can restart our popular tours where visitors can see first-hand how we make our spirits, learn more about gin, rum and whiskey and, of course, sample our fantastic products.”

Copeland Distillery

The Copeland Distillery opened its Donaghadee site in 2019, investing more than £600,000 into a former community centre and cinema that had lay dormant in the heart of the town for 20 years.

Mark Prentice, Commercial Director at The Copeland Distillery, said: “We’ve got a 125-year-lease on this site which shows we’re committed to Donaghadee. It’s fantastic that we can now finally deliver on our plans for the Distillery which will continue to attract domestic and international visitors to this special part of the world. Located just 30 minutes from Belfast, in a town with a rich maritime history, there is huge opportunity for our Distillery when it comes to offering meaningful visitor experiences.

“All of our gins, rums and whiskey are produced on site and it’s great to now be able to showcase our craftsmanship to visitors who come to the Distillery. Our spirits are first and foremost about taste and innovation but our products have also been developed to bring forgotten stories of our coastal heritage to life, which we are always delighted to share with visitors.

“2022 was already shaping up to be a big year for us. We signed a new distribution partnership with Classic Drinks in February which gives us access to a customer base of over 3000 bars, hotels and restaurants in the south of Ireland and also allows us to showcase the breadth of our entire spirits range. We have also secured new relationships in the US, Asia and Australia and right across Europe which will see the Copeland brand become truly international.”

Competing earlier this year at International Spirit and Wine Competition (IWSC), alongside 1200 other gins, The Copeland Distillery’s Irish gin scored an impressive 99 points out of 100 and was awarded an Outstanding Gold medal and the overall Trophy for 2022. It is also one of only a handful of distilleries across the island of Ireland producing rum and has three in total including a limited-edition Bordeaux casked rum.

For more information visit To book tickets to tour the Distillery, email

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