Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin sold over 100,000 cases in 2018

Leitrim distillery plotting launch of whiskey brand toward the end of 2019

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin reached a major milestone this year having sold over 100,000 cases, helping boost turnover to more than €7 million.

The Leitrim-based drinks maker more than doubled its 2017 exports and has sold more than €4.5 million worth of product worldwide in 2018. The brand is now available across 30 international markets including the UK, US, Russia, Australia, Israel, India, South Africa and Iraq.

Additionally, the company is making a large push into the travel retail market and has listings in a number of high-profile airports including JFK in New York.

"What we set out to do was create a remarkable brand and a remarkable brand that would sell internationally. To achieve 100,000 cases you need to be selling in a number of markets, you need repeat business and you need to create a brand that people will connect with," said Pat Rigney, the brand's founder.


Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin is one of a suite of products made by The Shed Distillery, founded and owned by Mr Rigney.

Mr Rigney, a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition, set up the company four years ago in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, having spent a number of years in the drinks industry helping to establish brands including Baileys. Additionally, he invented the twin-bottle Sheridan's Irish Cream Liqueur before becoming an entrepreneur.

The company is the first distillery in Connacht for more than a century. In addition to its gin brand, the company produces Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka. It also intends to launch its whiskey brand toward the end of 2019, at which point it will have been distilled for almost five years.

Visitor experience

The Shed Distillery expanded its facility this year to encompass five pot stills and three column stills. It also has its own bottling facility and began the enabling works for its new visitor experience which is scheduled to open at the end of 2019.

While the company currently employs 30 staff at its Leitrim facility, that is expected to increase to 50 when the €2 million visitor experience opens.

And while the Irish market is important to the company, the US, followed by the UK, is the biggest international market for its gin brand.

“Consumers are very interested in discovering brands like this that are special and have a good story,” Mr Rigney said.

Having signed a number of deals which see it available in the majority of UK supermarkets, The Shed Distillery recently secured its first order in Quebec and is also available across all of the control states in the US.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business