By SAM BUTLER
Copeland Distillery in Donaghadee has launched its first Irish whiskey, known as ‘The 125’ Single Cask Reserve.
Inspired by the Copeland Distillery’s 125-year lease on the new Donaghadee premises, ‘The 125’ reserve will offer private investors the opportunity to own one of 125 casks of this first release.
The whiskey will be distilled later this year with head distiller William Stafford and company founder Gareth Irvine overseeing all elements from grain selection to maturation. Copeland began business distilling fruit-infused gins.
Each investor who becomes a cask owner will also become an important part of the Copeland Distillery, a Food NI member. Each of the titles will be displayed on ‘The 125’ wall, signalling their investment and immortalising their important commitment to the distillery’s journey.
Each cask owner will receive an official certificate of ownership and ‘The 125’ members card unlocking exclusive access to future events at the distillery and private tours. Members will also have the opportunity to visit their cask and request samples as it matures.
Anyone can purchase a cask of The 125, with the option of sharing an ownership with colleagues, family members and close friends available too.
The distillery will also have a number of syndicate casks available for any individuals who wish to share ownership of a cask with similarly passionate whiskey drinkers.
Following distillation later this year, each cask will be filled and ‘put to sleep’ to mature for the next five years minimum in hand-selected casks.
The Copeland Distillery places spirit-quality over yield, ensuring that only the highest quality new-make whiskey will be selected for maturation. The range of casks available to what will become ‘The 125’ are as follows:
n 100 ex-Bourbon casks of approximately 200 litres. Priced at a base cost of £4,600 and yielding a return of over 400 bottles, these ex-bourbon casks will deliver a characterful whiskey with flavour compounds of caramel-like sweetness, spice and vanilla;
n 20 first-fill quarter, ex-bourbon casks of approximately 125 litres. Priced at a base cost £3,000 and yielding over 250 bottles, these slightly smaller casks will mature at a quicker rate but deliver all the same sweetness and spice flavour as their larger counterparts;
n five sherry butts/port pipes casks of approximately 500 litres. Priced at £8,000 and yielding over 1,000 bottles, these ex-sherry or ex-port casks will create a slightly dry, rich-red coloured whiskey.
Once matured, ‘The 125’ will have the opportunity to decide if they would like their Single Cask Whiskey to be bottled and labelled on-site with a bespoke label or sold back with compound interest per year as part of the distillery’s ‘buy-back’ scheme after the minimum five years. An example of this for the 200-litre cask option is: initial investment: £4,600. After five years: £5,204.48 or after 10: £5,888.39.
Gareth Irvine says: “We are gearing up to open the doors of the Copeland Distillery in just a couple months, which signals our growth as a business and the beginning of a new journey for us.
“The interest we’ve already had in ‘The 125’ Reserve details to us that our excitement is shared and there is a palpable confidence in our skill and ability to create quality, unique spirits.
“Having achieved so much in such a short space of time with our gin, which is now exported across the world to territories such as Australia and Europe, we’re confident that our whiskey will rise to the same success and further cement Copeland’s reputation as an impressive Northern Irish brand on the international stage.
“Our whiskey is the perfect marriage of traditional techniques and modern experimentation, each bottle of the whiskey will push creative boundaries and bring new flavours and character to the category,” he adds.