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Dog-friendly coffee shop opens at The Copeland Distillery

Gareth Irvine, founder of The Copeland Distillery, with his dog Elvis.

The Copeland Distillery has opened a dog-friendly, neighbourhood coffee shop at its Donaghadee base where the business produces a range of spirits.

Currently operating a takeaway-only service, in-line with current restrictions, The Distillery Café does offer seating for 12-15 indoor and out.

Guests and their dogs will have the opportunity to soak in the beautiful views of the neighbouring coastlines and Copeland Islands, and watch the Distillery team hard at work mashing, distilling and cask-emptying.

Copeland has transformed a derelict movie house in the centre of Donaghadee into its now permanent home, signing a 125-year lease and investing more than £900,000 into the project.

The Copeland Distillery was expecting to welcome thousands of domestic and international visitors this past summer, in what would have been its first tourism season, but unfortunately had to close its doors to the public due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Despite the challenges we’ve faced locally in recent months, we’ve continued to do our best to overcome and work with the restrictions and The Distillery Café is yet another example of that,” said Gareth Irvine, founder of The Copeland Distillery.

“While it’s a positive step forward from a business perspective, we never intended that we’d have to sell takeaway coffee to keep our doors open to the public. We’ve always wanted to do a café of sorts but certainly one that offered cocktails and our classic serves.

“Becoming a hub in the Donaghadee community has always been important to us and any venture that allows us to connect with the locals and visitors, and in this instance their dogs too is a runner, so coffee it is.

“We have always collaborated with local suppliers – our infused gins uses fruit sourced here in Co Down – and we’ll be carrying that ethos into the café with local produce a clear theme on our drinks menu.

“While it’s just takeaway for now, I’m a huge dog lover and dogs are a huge part of Donaghadee life, so we’ll be making sure we continue to be an inviting and comfortable place for dog owners and walkers as we expand the offering.

“We hope that the Assembly will support the hospitality industry, sooner rather than later, and that we will be open again at full capacity welcoming people to see how our spirits are made but for now we look forward to welcoming them to order and takeaway a non-alcoholic hot drink.”

The Distillery Café is now open from Wednesday to Sunday, 9am to 4pm and is serving some of the island’s best-loved produce from Suki Tea to 3FE Coffee. Co Down dog food brand, Werewolf Food, will be the official supplier of dog treats.

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