The Copeland Distillery Launches Merchant’s Quay Whiskey

May 19, 2021

The Copeland Distillery has announced the launch of its first whiskey product, a blended whiskey called Merchant’s Quay. Its release marks the Distillery’s entry to a third spirits category having introduced a rum range in November 2020 amid the pandemic which joined its range of gins.

The Copeland Distillery revealed a major investment in whiskey production when it took on a 125-year lease at an abandoned cinema in the harbour town of Donaghadee in 2019. They’ve began to  produce malt and pot-stilled whiskeys that are undergoing the maturation process and are expected to launch in 2024.

The Copeland Distillery Founder, Gareth Irvine, said:

“Today is a huge milestone for all of us here at the Distillery. Merchants’ Quay, our first whiskey and only a taste of what’s to come, will support our goal of building credibility and establishing pedigree in the whiskey market in advance of the launch of our single malt and pot-stilled products which are currently being distilled and aged at the Distillery.”

He went on to explain:

“As with all of our products, it is taste, innovation and history that are important to us and Merchants’ Quay celebrates the connection that Donaghadee has had to maritime activity in Northern Ireland. The Copeland Islands and Donaghadee harbour, were busy trading ports for hundreds of years where ships have been launched, and casks landed, over the centuries.”

The Copeland distilling team and company founder, Gareth Irvine, collaborated with Brian Watts, Master Distiller at The Great Northern Distillery on all elements of the blending process for Merchants’ Quay. The result showcases the Distillery’s ability to create unique cask and flavour combinations.  Merchants’ Quay consists of three different whiskeys matured in four casks.

First, a grain whiskey matured in virgin oak casks and finished in re-char bourbon casks was carefully selected to join a double distilled malt, aged in American bourbon barrels, and a triple distilled malt aged in Oloroso sherry barrels finishes the unique blend.

From the Copeland Distillery: The end result has an amber colour and an enjoyably sweet aroma of toffee apples and dark berries with undertones of vanilla and clove spice before a mild hint of fresh cedar hits. On the palate, Merchants’ Quay is a tasteful and complex experience of refreshing, fruity orange and honey whilst its finish is a contrasting yet complementary dry, toasty oak.

Merchant’s Quay is priced at £31.99 (RRP) for 700ml. It is available to purchase online at and in SuperValu and Centra stores across Northern Ireland, along with selected independent off-licences, from Thursday 20th May.