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The Copeland Distillery has hit another milestone with the first shipments of its gin, rum and whiskey sent to the US. Copeland has partnered with Tradebright, based in Co. Waterford, Washington State and Los Angeles, who will import the range and help the brand secure new distributors and retail partners across North America. 

The first shipment of over 15,000 bottles (2,500 cases) has just left the Donaghadee Distillery, with over 40,000 bottles due for delivery by the end of the year. This follows extensive discussions with distributors and retailers across the US, with new distribution agreements already secured in various states including Missouri, Texas, Idaho, Arizona, New Hampshire, Colorado and Georgia.

The export focus is on the Distillery’s core range – Rhuberry Gin, Jones 1778 Navy Strength Gin, Smugglers’ Reserve Rum and Merchants’ Quay Blended Irish Whiskey. With increased availability now secured across North America, the business is on track to sell over 25,000 cases in 2022, and deliver against a target of over 40,000 cases in 2023. 

Mary Daniels, Director of Global Trade at Tradebright said:

“In 2021 approximately 851,000 thousand cases, over 10 million bottles, of premium Irish whiskey were sold across the United States and, as demand continues to grow, relationships like ours with The Copeland Distillery are really exciting. The Copeland range has already sparked an interest with US buyers and distributors as there are so few Irish craft distilleries producing such a diverse range of premium quality rum, whiskey and gin. Consumers’ continued demand for uniquely crafted and great tasting spirits, from producers with great brand stories will continue to transform the industry for years to come, so supporting impressive Irish producers liked Copeland on their journey is a priority for us. With six states already signed up and more in the pipeline, we’re looking forward to establishing the Copeland brand right across the US over the next few years.”

Gareth Irvine, Founder of The Copeland Distillery, said:

“Our range represents the best of Northern Ireland’s craftsmanship and the rich history of this Donaghadee, so we are thrilled that we have started to share these stories with and connect to U.S. consumers. This is a significant milestone in our journey as we look to double our volumes by the end of 2023.  We’re really pleased with the initial feedback from distributors, retailers and on-trade customers, and the state-by-state approach Tradebright has applied to growing our presence in the US.  The US is a complex market to crack, given the differing alcohol regulations in each state but we are now primed to deliver significant volumes in the gin, rum and whiskey categories. We have a unique portfolio with a number of award-winning spirits setting us apart from the competition, and we now have the resource when it comes to the level of research, admin and on-the-ground support needed to enter and grow in this market.”


Irish Whiskey Magazine - Copeland Distillery new distribution deal 2

Mark Prentice, Commercial Director and Gareth Irvine – Founder


Competing earlier this year at International Spirit and Wine Competition (IWSC), alongside 1200 other gins, 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. The gin, rum and Irish whiskey categories continue to thrive globally, and as a result the Distillery is committed to continuing to develop its range of premium spirits which is already widely available across Europe, Australia and the UAE. 

Mark Prentice, Commercial Director at The Copeland Distillery said:

“2022 is a set to be a transformative year for us in terms of our export business, not only in the US but in terms of new distributors added in Canada, Sweden and Africa. A lot has changed domestically too with new listings across Northern Ireland and an expanding footprint in the Republic of Ireland, with Classic Drinks recently appointed to distribute the range. This is on top of recent legislative changes which mean we can now sell and sample our products on-site which has completely transformed our Distillery experience. Our new producers’ licence means that we can significantly grow our online business and operate our tours as we always envisioned we would. All of this ensures that we can attract new visitors to the Distillery and create more jobs in the local area.”

The Copeland Distillery opened its Donaghadee site in 2019, investing more than £1,000,000 into a former community centre and cinema that had lay dormant in the heart of the town for 20 years. 

For more information visit copelanddistillery.com



Issue 12 Irish Whiskey Magazine

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