HomeBussinessDrumshanbo distillery owner warns of global drink market slowdown

Drumshanbo distillery owner warns of global drink market slowdown

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Gin maker opens up on the number of distilleries popping up around Ireland

Pat Rigney and his wife Denise in their Drumshanbo distillery. Photo: Brian Farrell

The owner of the Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin brand has warned that the international drinks market has become challenging, as cost inflation and overstocking bite Irish alcohol manufacturers.

Pat Rigney, owner of PJ Rigney Distillery and International Brands, was speaking after publishing the company’s results for the year ended September 30, 2023.

The company recorded a pre-tax profit of almost €3.8m on revenues of nearly €18.4m.

‘The drinks industry is full of opportunities, but it’s also full of bear traps’

Rigney said the Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin brand continued to grow and would have a “strong 2024”. He hoped the business will sell around 300,000 cases this year, up from 270,000.

“We are having to be more innovative, more resourceful and to boot-strap things in a way we never had to before,” he said.

“Our team is competing with the best in the world.

“We never set out to be a local distillery. We want to be a winner on the world stage, because Ireland is just too small.”

While Rigney said his international business was doing well, he added that markets globally are facing challenges. Inflation and overstocking have mainly contributed to slower international sales for some companies, including that of the multinationals.

“It’s not for the faint-hearted at the moment,” he said. “You really have to have a strong brand. Being big is not the same advantage as it was before, like being a multinational. It is an advantage, but everyone is affected.

“The strong brands and those prepared to look at things for the long haul will prevail,” he said.

While Rigney welcomed the number of distilleries popping up around Ireland, he noted there may be a misunderstanding about how profitable the industry can be.

“It is full of opportunities, but it’s also full of bear traps. Even with the best experience, there are no guarantees.”

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