Pat Rigney, the Managing Director and Founder of The Shed Distillery in Co. Leitrim, has been appointed Chair of Drinks Ireland|Spirits, the representative body responsible for promoting the interests of the Irish spirits industry.

Pat Rigney, who was previously Vice-Chair of the representative body, will take over as Chair from Aoife Clarke, Senior Director of International Public Affairs at Beam Suntory.

Bryan Fallon, Director of TJ Carolan’s has been appointed as Vice-Chair.

Drinks Ireland|Spirits was established in 1997 and acts as a voice among national and EU policy makers for issues such as taxation, trade and the ongoing international protection of Ireland’s Geographic Indicators (GIs). Drinks Ireland|Spirits is part of Drinks Ireland, the representative organisation for alcoholic drinks manufacturers and suppliers in Ireland in Ibec.

Speaking about his appointment, Pat Rigney said: “Ireland’s spirits industry continues to go from strength to strength. The value of spirits exports from Ireland increased by 10.2% between 2017 and 2018, from €916m to over €1bn. We also have a dynamic domestic spirits market, driven by the growing popularity of premium spirits products like Irish whiskey and gin.

“Looking forward, we want to continue to drive this growth, but there are also a number of imminent issues ahead, including tariffs and Brexit.

“I’m delighted to take on the position of Chair in the Drinks Ireland|Spirits.”

Head of Drinks Ireland|Spirits, Vincent McGovern said: “On behalf of Drinks Ireland|Spirits, I want to congratulate Pat Rigney on his appointment. I also want to thank Aoife Clarke, who has made incredible strides for the Irish spirits industry during her time as chair.”

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