The founder and managing director of the Shed Distillery in Leitrim says he'd like to see the drinks industry here better recognised for its importance to the economy, especially in rural areas.
Pat Rigney was appointed recently as the new Chairperson of the IBEC group Drinks Ireland which represents the Irish Drinks Sector.
In a statement on his appointment the Shed Distillery owner say he believes the drinks industry is too often misrepresented and maligned in Ireland.
He says the rise in local Irish Distilleries and breweries has transformed the rural Irish economy, creating significant employment and he wants to see the debate on alcohol being more balanced.
Speaking on this afternoons Let's Talk show this afternoon Pat Rigney says the distillery in Drumshanbo is a significant employer and hopes to attract up to 40,000 to the town this year.
"We're up to 85 folks working here and during the summer I'd say we'll be close to 100 and that includes the distillation and the bottling, because we do everything here. We distill, bottle, and pack. We then have the visitor experience which is a very good employer. We're also using local services, be it transport, electricians, or plumbers. Ireland has really been transformed over the last 5-10 years and will continue to be with the new distilleries, many of them in rural locations which may have been an employment blackspot in the past".