New Navy Strength Gin From Northern Ireland Steeped In History

Copeland Distillery, the Northern Ireland craft producer of award-winning gins, has launched a new ‘Jones Navy Strength’ gin.

Based at Donaghadee in county Down, Copeland founder Gareth Irvine describes the new product as the distillery’s “strongest ever gin”.

“The gin is bottled at 57%ABV – hence the ‘navy strength’. “The gin is aged in Kentucky Bourbon casks for 120 days and then finished in Oloroso Sherry casks for a further 20 days.”

The gin is named after the founding father of the USS Navy John Paul Jones, an American Revolutionary War hero, who commanded the US Ranger in a major sea engagement with the HMS Drake on 24 April 1778 in the North Channel. Jones had previously sailed the Ranger into Belfast Lough. HMS Drake had moored at Carrickfergus to take on volunteers from the area.

The new gin reflects the strong links between Northern Ireland and the US including during the Revolutionary War. Many families from the north of Ireland had emigrated in the mid 18th century from harbours such as Carrickfergus.

They include John Haslet from ungiven, county Derry, one of Washington’s most gifted generals. Other generals from the north of Ireland included John Stark from Derry and Henry Knox, also county Derry. Charles Thomson, originally from Maghera, county Derry, drafted the Declaration of Independence and John Dunlap, from Strabane, county Derry, printed the historic document.

Copeland Distillery was established by Mr Irvine to develop fruit-infused gins using locally sourced ingredients such as rhubarb, strawberries and blackberries, and raspberries. The success of these products led to the creation of a purpose-built distillery in Donaghadee and the introduction of a classic gin and preparations to launch an Irish malt whiskey.

Navy Strength Gin is bottled at 100° British Proof or 57% ABV and originated in the 18th century when it was produced for sailors to counter conditions such as scurvy.