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Copeland Distillery enters rum category with two new bottlings

Co Down-based spirits company The Copeland Distillery has announced the growth of its spirits portfolio as it moves into its third category, rum.

Its first two Irish rum releases, Smugglers’ Reserve and Copeland Overproof Rum, are now bottled and available to purchase across the UK and Ireland from October 7.

Inspired by smugglers of the coasts near its home in Donaghadee, the creative new rum releases are an expression of Copeland’s own resilience and resolve, following what has been a challenging time for the young Distillery, which opened its doors in August 2019.

Both variations of the rum have been created at The Copeland Distillery, where the company already produces its whiskey and gin. Head distiller William Stafford and company founder Gareth Irvine collaborated on all elements of the distillation and fermentation, including sourcing a specially-selected rum from Barbados for the blending process.

While both distillates have been matured in a combination of American bourbon barrels and French Pinot Noir casks. each has its own recognisable character and story.

Smugglers’ Reserve is inspired by clandestine smuggling activities that took place along the Copeland Islands throughout the 18th and 19th century and gives honour to the contrabandists that brought tastes of new worlds to Co Down’s shores.

With fulfilling notes of warm, sweet spices and gingerbread, perfectly-paired with piquant flavours like banana coconut, this luxurious Irish Rum is the result of a clever marriage of Copeland’s heavy pot-still rum and its light rum along with a Barbados rum. A unique and exciting offering bottled at 40%, it is priced at £29.99 per 700ml and will be continuously available as part of the Distillery’s core range of gins.

Copeland Overproof Rum is inspired by the events of 14 August 1815, when the brig ‘Andrew Savage’, originally from Portaferry, landed home with fine rum from Belfast Bay in Antigua.

It could be seen for days ahead of its landing with the newspaper reporting that it expected most of the cargo to safely land in Donaghadee’s coves and tunnels along the coastline for lucky folks to enjoy.

A sophisticated and skilful rum that relies on a double pot distillation over 10-14 days, Copeland’s Overproof Rum is bottled at 57.2% and boasts pleasantly familiar aromas such as corner shop ice-cream and candied orange. The drinker will enjoy a smooth and velvet-like experience of spiced honey, vanilla and dried fruit. A limited edition offering, with only 600 individually-numbered bottles available, it is priced at £44.99 per 700ml.

“Rum is a spirit that we have always wanted to produce, so to introduce not one but two rums that we’re equally proud of is really exciting,” said Irvine. “It’s still a challenging time for the industry, for producers like us and for venues and patrons too and we want this launch to be a reminder to our peers that we will all find the solutions we need to overcome barriers, just like the brave and determined smugglers who inspired our rums.

“As cocktail culture continues to grow year-on-year, the rum category is primed for a huge comeback and has been experiencing growth over the last 12 months or so. However, it’s not just a case of releasing a rum and suddenly you’re part of the category’s growth. Rum is actually a very tricky liquid to get right, and we wanted our rum, particularly as one of very few Irish rums on the market to be distinctly different.

“Flavour can vary drastically with factors like the origins of your base ingredients, production-style and the ageing process all playing an important role, much like a whiskey. Given our experience within the whiskey category, and of course our head distiller’s keen palate, we we’re well-placed to enter the rum category.

“Our Overproof is a must-have for rum aficionados, especially as it is limited-edition, while our Smugglers’ Reserve is a stunning liquid that is robust enough for both at-home cocktail lovers and professional mixologists to have a lot of fun experimenting with, responsibly of course.”

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