Shed Distillery aims to attract 30,000 visitors to Co Leitrim

Company behind Drumshanbo Gunpowder gin sees revenues rise even with pandemic

The maker of the popular Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin has reported record revenues of close to €10 million for 2020, despite the Covid-19 crisis.

The Shed Distillery in Co Leitrim, which was founded by drinks industry veteran Pat Rigney in 2014, saw sales rise from €8 million a year earlier as pre-tax profits edged up slightly to €1.93 million.

Mr Rigney hailed a strong performance from the company even despite disruptions to major markets due to the pandemic, which also caused it to curtail the opening plans for its visitor centre.

The family-owned business, which last year released its own single-pot still Irish whiskey and is also behind the Sausage Tree Vodka brand, proceeded with plans to open a €3.5 million visitor centre in Co Leitrim last September despite the lack of tourists. However, it was forced to close four weeks later due to new lockdown restrictions.


Significant investment

The centre is now due to reopen with the goal of attracting 30,000 visitors by 2023, which Mr Rigney estimated would generate about €3 million in income for the local economy.

“We have plans to create another 25 jobs to bring the workforce here to 75 as part of a significant investment in our brands and the community and we can’t wait to see visitors arriving here,” Mr Rigney said.

“We distil every drop of spirit here in Co Leitrim so we have an authentic, exciting distillery with a great story to tell.”

Gunpowder Gin remains the flagship brand for the group with an estimated 180,000 9-litre cases shipped last year.

Mr Rigney said the brand performed well during the year on the back of it having already become a popular brand in a number of markets, including in the United States, where it is ranked as among the fastest growing among 1,500 gins by Nielsen.


“We were very frightened at the start of the pandemic about what would happen to us but ended up being surprised and delighted at how well our brands performed in supermarket chains, off-licences and online,” said Mr Rigney.

“I think we’re really well positioned to make further gains as societies around the world open up again. In a country of around 5 million people, the local market is not big enough but we’re thrilled by how well we’ve done at home and by the recognition we’re getting globally.”

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist