Irish serial entrepreneur PJ Rigney is putting the final touches to his latest business venture, a €2 million spirits distillery in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim.
The distillery, which will make “edgy” gin, vodka and whiskey, is set to open next Sunday, December 21st. Its first product to market could be a Black Forest gateaux-flavoured liqueur.
Mr Rigney has dubbed his distillery “The Shed” and he plans to produce a potato vodka, herbaceous gin and a range of liqueurs and handcrafted Irish whiskies mainly for the export market. At full capacity it will produce some 200,000 cases of spirits per annum and employ 10 staff.
It is owned by PJ Rigney Distillery and International Brands Ltd, and has got support from Enterprise Ireland. Mr Rigney hopes to have product available within six months.
Rigney is no stranger to the spirits industry. He was a co-founder of Boru vodka through the Roaring Water Bay Spirits Company. It later merged with Great Spirits to form Castle Brands, which was valued at $108 million at the time of its IPO in 2005. Rigney’s holding was valued at $3.2 million at the time.
He also previously worked for Baileys Irish Cream during the 1990s, handling the Americas and Australasia export markets, and later founded Sheridan’s liqueur, which sells more than 300,000 cases a year.
Mr Rigney is also hoping that “The Shed” will become a hub for tourism in Drumshanbo, attracting visitors to witness the skill of handcrafted distillation.
“My parents were both working in Drumshanbo when they first met …now we’re back.”