Sainsbury’s to stock Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin

Decision to sell at 600 British stores welcomed by Shed Distillery founder Pat Rigney

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin has struck a deal with Sainsbury's to be listed in 600 of the company's stores in Britain.

The Leitrim-based drinks maker on Wednesday started distributing its product to Sainsbury’s and expects to be in store next week.

The listing follows deals with Tesco, Asda and Selfridges in the UK as well as a listing in Sainsbury's in Northern Ireland.

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin is one of a suite of products made by the Shed Distillery, founded and owned by Pat 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 Liquer before becoming an entrepreneur.

The company is the first distillery in Connacht for more than a century.

“Sainsbury’s is just another score on the board but a very important one for us,” he explained. “Our goal is to built a very substantial international brand that will generate sustainable jobs in County Leitrim at the Shed Distillery.

“We’re barely in business three years so we’re making a significant contribution to the local economy and we’re very connected with the community in Drumshanbo,” he added.

Mr Rigney expects the Shed Distillery to grow its turnover to €6 million this year, double that of last year, and as it grows its US presence he expects turnover to rise to €9 million the following year.

Already, the company is listed in 200 Target stores and Whole Foods in the US and sells into various European markets including France, Belgium and Switzerland as well as South Africa, Australia, Russia and India.

The Shed currently employs 27 people in Leitrim, but plans to scale up significantly over the next 12 months having added capacity to increase the volume of drinks production.

“We’re in the process of investing in our visitors’ experience so that should add another 20 jobs so that Drumshanbo becomes a destination to see our wonderful distillery in Ireland.

“We’re not thinking micro, we’re thinking of developing a global brand from a small town. The psychology is unique,” he added.

Mr Rigney recently launched another product called Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka which will be in Irish shops in June. After that the product will be launched in the UK, Ukraine and South Africa.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

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