23 Dec 2016 | 01.10 pm
Drumshanbo Distillery Raises €250,000 EIIS Funding
The Shed Distillery makes Gunpowder Irish Gin
23 Dec 2016 | 01.10 pm
The Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim, has secured €250,000 in EIIS funding from an EIIS fund operating through Frist Names Trust Company in Shannon, usually a vehicle for Davy.
The venture began distilling in December 2014 and is led by Pat Rigney (55), a veteran in the drinks sector. He worked with Baileys, Gilbeys, C&C and Grants, and was involved in the development of the Boru vodka and Sheridan’s liqueur brands. He is also a director and shareholder in trade distributor Dalcassian Wines & Spirits.
“This is the first distillery in Connacht for over 100 years,” says Rigney. “It’s also the first multi-purpose distillery of its kind in Ireland and is full of experiments and recipes for herbaceous gins, potato vodkas, handcrafted Irish pot still and single malt whiskey and new liqueurs.
“People are often amazed when they come in and see fresh sprouts alongside raspberries, blueberries, citrus fruits, juniper berries and chocolate. That’s the beauty of the Shed – we can venture outside our comfort zone to come up with completely new recipes.”
Rigney located the venture in The Food Hub in Drumshanbo. The premises formerly housed Lairds jam factory, where around 100 people were once employed making Bo Peep jams. When that business was shuttered in 1998, the building lay vacant until the local community decided to do something about it.
Drumshanbo Community Council badgered various state bodies and sourced over €2.3m to transform the disused factory into food production units.
In 2014 Rigney was helped on his way with a €275,000 payment from Enterprise Ireland, which was secured after the entrepreneur invested €100,000 in the operating company and Dalcassian invested €85,000. Debt finance for PJ Rigney Distillery and International Brands Ltd is being provided by Bank of Ireland.
“Setting up my own distillery was always a dream of mine,” says Rigney. “It was important to find the perfect location and a community that would embrace the concept. We worked to a tight budget and we were very fortunate to have such a close relationship with the local community in Drumshanbo, where we secured excellent craftsmanship, builders, architects and materials with the skills necessary to deliver a world class distillery.”
Dalcassian, where Rigney’s partners are John Dillon and accountant Pat Egan, specialises in niche drinks products and The Shed will feed into that model.
The operating company for the Leitrim venture, PJ Rigney Distillery and International Brands Ltd, booked a profit of €2,000 in the year to September 2015. Year-end debtors increased in 2014/15 from €10,000 to €118,000 and the valuation of fixed assets grew from €325,000 to €629,000. Year-end liabilities totalled to €985,000 and net worth was €158,000.
Photo: Pat Rigney (left) and John Dillon