Pat Rigney, the managing director and founder at The Shed Distillery, which makes Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, has been elected chair of Drinks Ireland.
Rigney takes over the position of chair from Oliver Loomes, country director of Diageo Ireland.
The Ibec trade association currently represents 61 drinks manufacturers and suppliers on the island of Ireland, which includes the category trade associations of Drinks Ireland|Beer, Drinks Ireland|Cider, Drinks Ireland|Irish Whiskey, Drinks Ireland|Spirits and Drinks Ireland|Wine.
According to Drinks Ireland, prior to COVID-19, the drinks industry was experiencing strong growth.
In 2019, the drinks industry in Ireland generated exports to over 140 markets, worth €1.45 billion.
It contributed €2.6 billion in VAT and Excise payments to the exchequer, it added.
Drinks Ireland said that along with its new chair, Rigney, it will help support the sector in recovering from the impact of the pandemic in 2021 and beyond.
Commenting on his appointment today, Rigney said: “Ireland’s drinks industry faces a number of challenges. The sector has and continues to be significantly impacted by Covid-19, which has hit production, exports, and sales."
Rigney noted that beyond this, it faces the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, with negotiations ongoing, and also continues to be impacted by trade disputes between the EU and the US.
“But at its core, the industry is resilient, dynamic, innovative, and has performed strongly in domestic and export markets in recent years. I’m looking forward to working with Drinks Ireland and its membership,” he added.
© 2020 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.