Copeland Distillery in Donaghadee, county Down is continuing to overcome local hospitality restrictions with the opening of The Distillery Café, a dog-friendly, neighbourhood coffee shop at the distillery.
The Distillery Café will enable the business to connect with both the local community and visitors to Donaghadee, as it has always intended to, since opening to the public in August 2019.
While it’s operating a takeaway service only for the moment, in-line with current restrictions, the venue does offer seating for 12-15 indoor and out. Guests and their dogs will have the opportunity to soak in views of the neighbouring coastlines and Copeland Islands, and watch the Distillery team hard at work mashing, distilling and cask-emptying.
An important attraction in the seaside town, Copeland transformed a derelict cinema 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.
Distillery founder Gareth Irvine says: “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 café is yet another example of that.
“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 from county 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.
The Distillery Café is now open from Wednesday to Sunday, 9:00am to 4:00pm and is serving some of the island’s best-loved produce from Suki Tea to 3FE Coffee. Dog food brand, Werewolf Food, will be the official supplier of dog treats.