Copeland Spirits

A fascination with his uncle's brewing business gave Gareth Irvine the inspiration to start his natural gin company.

But it was launching his project on Crowdfunder, along with the site's unique partnership with Xero online accounting software, that is taking his dream one step closer to reality.

Copeland Gin is almost at its £23,750 target, thanks to scores of backers who were inspired by the idea of Gareth's jewel-coloured infusions.

Now, courtesy of a pioneering monthly award scheme run by Crowdfunder and Xero, it has been named Xero's Beautiful Project of the Month.

Impressed by Copeland Gin's beautiful branding, striking bottles and quirky flavours, Xero has donated three months' worth of free accounting software to the spirits company.

Gareth says it will allow him to keep on top of his finances - leaving him more time to inspire the crowd with his flavourful gins and develop his burgeoning business.

"There's an awful lot of paperwork that goes with setting up a business, from reports to accounting," he says.

"So whatever can be done to simplify it, is great. Plus we're always looking to minimise start-up costs.

"I'm absolutely thrilled with the Xero award. It's hugely helpful."

When Gareth started making his gins, selling at weekend markets in Northern Ireland, he was determined the ingredients he used would have credible provenance.

"I wanted them to be local and traceable," says Gareth, who works with local farmers to collect their surplus fruit. 

"There are farms every five miles here, left to right, and there's always an abundance.

"My uncle has a brewery and I got the idea from watching him. Plus I love gin-drinking."

In the town of Saintfield, Gareth infuses Copeland's own premium gin with hedgerow berries and other fruit to create evocative flavours like raspberry and mint, and Rhuberry - a bright, cerise blend of rhubarb and blackberry.

Concoctions are hand-turned and mixed every few days, to distill quality into every embossed glass bottle, and the gins can be drunk with traditional mixers, or transformed into cocktails.

Halfway through the crowdfunding campaign, 196 backers were already set to toast Copeland Gin's success, snapping up rewards from a bottle shipped out every birthday to tickets to the launch party and glasses and shakers to a gin-based soiree for the backer and 10 lucky friends.

Future plans, once Gareth has taken his initial infusions to market, include the development of new flavours - including a Christmas gin - and an internet sales portal so fans the world over can raise a glass to Copeland Gin.

With more than a month to go, the company is well on the way to crowdfunding success.

But Gareth acknowledges he couldn't have done it without Crowdfunder.

"Working with the Crowdfunder team has been great," he says.

"It's been hard work, but it's definitely worth it. And now I've got people coming to me, asking me advice about their projects. 

"It's great to be able to give back.

"Crowdfunder....they're the best."

All Crowdfunder projects are able to take advantage of a free trial of Xero and get 50% off Xero accounting software for six months. 

Do you want to be Xero's next beautiful project of the month?

 Drop us a message here or tag us on Facebook or Twitter telling us why you deserve to be the next project of the month.

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