Shed Distillery in Leitrim invests €10m to double whiskey-making capacity

Maker of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin in expansion mode

The owners of the Shed Distillery in Co Leitrim, best known for its Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, are investing €10 million to double its whiskey-making capacity.

Some €3 million was spent in the past year with “at least” another €7 million to come over the next three years to support the company’s growth at the premium end of the market, according to its co-founder Pat Rigney.

The money will come from its own resources and double its capacity to 120,000 cases of whiskey a year.

“For us that’s quite a big investment,” Mr Rigney told The Irish Times. “It’s still relatively small within what’s happening in Ireland [in whiskey] but we’re very focused on that top-quality single-pot still segment. For a family-owned business it’s probably where it needs to be.


“We’d be anticipating releasing our single-pot still whiskeys between five and 12 years of age when the quality is right. Everything we sell we produce at the Shed Distillery, every drop. We don’t bring in any whiskey from a third party.

Accounts just filed for PJ Rigney Distillery & International Brands Ltd, which operates the distillery, show that the company increased its revenue for the year to the end of September 2023 by 7.5 per cent to just under €18.4 million. Its pretax profit was flat at €3.8 million.

It closed the financial year with accumulated profits of €15.3 million.

“We invested quite heavily in our brands in 2023 and in our facilities,” Mr Rigney said of the profit performance. “It’s a very competitive marketplace. We increased our top line but we didn’t take any price increases . . . so it’s real organic growth.

“We are a family business and the strategy is to reinvest. We’re playing the long game. When we make a decision we’re thinking five to 10 years out. Hopefully another member of the family will be running the business at that point. That’s the way we’re thinking. It’s a very controlled expansion.”

Based in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, the Shed Distillery was founded by Mr Rigney and his wife Denise Rigney, and produces gin, vodka and whiskey, with its Gunpowder gin brand the flagship product. It also operates a visitor centre at the distillery, conducting about 25,000 tours last year.

The distillery has just launched a seven-year-old Drumshanbo Single Pot Still Irish whiskey marsala cask edition, retailing at €89. The whiskey has matured since 2017 in casks brought over from Sicily that had been previously used for marsala wine. It will be available at Dublin Airport’s duty free shops from mid April.

The distillery laid down its first whiskey in 2014 with its inaugural release in 2019. Mr Rigney said its biggest export market is the United States, followed by France, with Ireland and duty free retail also strong contributors to its revenue performance.

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock

Ciarán Hancock is Business Editor of The Irish Times