Nestled amidst the coastline of Donaghadee, a seafront town on the east coast of Northern Ireland, lies Copeland Distillery. Drawing inspiration from the nearby Copeland Islands, a cluster of isles steeped in a rich tapestry of maritime history, this one-of-a-kind distillery has become a testament to the enduring spirit of the area.  

The Copeland Distillery story started in the summer of 2016, when they successfully raised £30,000 from crowdfunding. The collective belief of their donors powered up this once former cinema and Ards bottling Company site – unoccupied for more than 20 years – to become a transformed new distillery in August 2019.   

Gareth Irvine, Founder of the Copeland, began the company from his kitchen with the quest to find a naturally flavourful gin that would revolutionise the market. It certainly did, and continues to do so, having been awarded ‘Best Contemporary Gin’ by IWSC (International Spirit and Wine Competition) last year. 

His success enabled Copeland to grow its team and, within a few years, become a craft producer of a range of Irish Gin, Rum, Single Malt and Pot Still Whiskey.  


One of three rum distilleries in Ireland, Copeland approached Signet to explore ways they could feature their idea of a recessed embellishment to feature on their unusual black bottle, emblazoned with a boldly-coloured label on their flagship Smugglers’ Reserve and Smuggler’s Reserve Overproof rum.  

With obvious links to maritime navigation and treasure trove maps, the brand surfaced an almost fairy tale like affection for the age-old pirate stories, but this time they were true stories on the great shores of Northern Ireland.   

After initially engaging with their glass bottle producer to discuss featuring their mainstay logo – a compass that was created based on one that featured a map of Co Down dating back to 1755. We worked with Copeland to find an eye-catching embellishment that would accurately represent the heritage and history of the individual products and the wider brand. 

What better nod to the smuggling trade narrative, than a piece of the stolen treasure itself. A coin.

“We were looking to create a unique bottle, and we found it. There was an option to put something that goes beyond just the label. I think the [coin] has captured the essence of the smuggling and story behind it. The coin looks vintage and adds that personal touch to the bottle. And we know a lot of our customers keep the bottles after they’re empty as a result.” 

Megan Hide, Marketing Manager 


Following a period of collaboration with the Copeland team and the glass producer, Signet began the process of identifying the ideal colour, design and finish that would work best for each bottle. After initially reviewing over 20 different finishes and sharing metal swatch books, the team were able to narrow the ideal choices to 2 unique preferences: antique brass and antique copper. 

Once this colour and finish was decided, Signet created several die cast coin designs using the client’s chosen logo, showing different levels of antiquing & ‘distress’ of the design. This allowed the client to decide on a clean design with an appropriate level of antiquing that would accurately align the embellishment with the wider brand alongside the intricacies of each individual product bottle. 

The final solution comprised of a sophisticated debossed design with a perfect level of antiquing that would not only help the bottle stand out on the shelves, but also help to communicate the strong ties that the brand has with its historical heritage. 

Once the design was finalised, meticulous preparation ensured the bespoke manufacturing processes accurately reproduced the high level of detail needed on each die cast coin. This attention to manufacturing detail was also critical to ensure the coin could be adhered to the bottle securely and precisely each time.  

To deliver on this unique requirement we selected a foam adhesive for the back of the badge which would manage any tolerance in the glass, and designed the coin with a locator on the back to ensure it sat perfectly on the shoulder of the bottle every time. 


The final result of a die-cast zamac coin featuring a 20mm debossed design and finished in antique copper, now adorns the neck of two stunning rum bottles, providing an eye-capturing link to the history and legacy of each unique product.  

Crafted with unparalleled precision and a meticulous eye for detail, the die-cast coin is a true work of art. Every millimetre of its gleaming surface has been expertly designed and produced, resulting in a creation that encapsulates the very essence of the Copeland Distillery brand. 

“All our bottles have the compass. It has to be there. It’s our compass to the map of Copeland Distillery. And that’s why the coin is so special on this bottle. It completes it.” 

Through collaboration between our team, the bottle producer, the design agency, and our client, we have brought to life a truly magnificent representation of the union between design creativity and production expertise.  

The result has been nothing short of award-winning, having won a major UK award as one of the most distinctive bottles in the annual UK Packaging Awards in London

“You look at a lot of rums out there, and personally, it looks all the same. We’re different because we’re local, it’s made here in Northern Ireland, and we embody the coastal spirit of the people, community, town and the stories we bring back to life that people haven’t heard in years. That’s what sets us apart. And where we’ve made our mark.”  

Client Copeland Distillery
Material Die Cast