Local Distillery: Copeland Rum

WORDS Mary Garner


Three years ago, DJ-turned-distiller James Copeland started to experiment with what was to become the award-winning Copeland Cape Rum.

Copeland Cape Rum is a pure single rum (a single-batch rum fermented and distilled using only molasses) with flavour notes of pineapple, litchi and cacao. We were curious to know more, so we asked him a few questions…

Why rum?
It was my drink of choice during my youth.

What was it like winning a silver medal at the Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards last year?
This was months before the rum was available for sale, so it was great to have my personal philosophy on this spirit accepted and rewarded.

What are the benefits of using blackstrap molasses?
Blackstrap has the least amount of sugar, so it’s a very low-yielding base for making spirits, but it’s packed full of all the essential flavour compounds necessary for making a proper rum.

How many production processes did you try out before settling on one?
When I first started, I hit it garagiste-style. There wasn’t much room for error or test batches; I had to make sure all my research was on point. I’ve had happy accidents that taught me a lot.

Any suggestions for ways to serve this rum?
It goes really well with freshly squeezed fruit juice – just mix it to your taste. And it’s the perfect rum for a classic cocktail like the original daiquiri.

What are your plans for Copeland Rum in 2018?
There’s a vapour-infused fynbos-spiced rum made in the same style as gin on the way.

Copeland Rum is available from Yuppiechef and copelandrum.com.