Above: Pat Rigney. Photo: Fennell Photography

PJ Rigney, the creator of the internationally-acclaimed Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, is among the finalists of the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. The 24 finalists were shortlisted from over 110 nominations from across the island, selected by an independent judging panel. The finalists are provided with the opportunity to connect, learn from and do business with the EY Entrepreneur of the Year alumni network – almost 500 of Ireland’s most successful businesspeople.

Alongside the invention of the twin-bottle Sheridan’s Cream Liqueur in the 1990s, and again with the Boru Irish vodka brand, the drinks industry pioneer made waves once more in April 2016 with the launch of The Shed Distillery’s first-ever brand in Drumshanbo Gunpowder. The brand has since become something of a global phenomenon, available in 25 international markets including the UK, US, Russian and Australia, and was voted Ireland’s Best Gin two years in a row at the National Gin & Tonic Fest.

The Shed Distillery has gone on to produce the first whiskey made in Connaught in 104 years in Winter Solstice 2017 (the first cask was valued at €100,000) and, earlier this year, caused excitement at PROWEIN in Germany with the launch of Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka – a new tipple inspired by Africa’s Kigelia africana or sausage tree.


Turnover for the distillery has reached €6 million in just three years, with 23-full time staff on hand – due to rise to more than 50 with a new €2 million visitor experience and plans to release the first Premier Grand Cru whiskey in 2019.

The overall EY award winner will be announced at the awards ceremony this October and that person will represent Ireland at the World Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monaco in June 2019.