Boann Distillery

New jobs make headlines and in the papers last week was an AIB customer, The Boann Distillery, which is set to create 80 jobs in Drogheda.

This new distillery and visitors' centre will open next year and also includes the Boyne Brewhouse craft brewery and a bar, restaurant and event space. The business, backed by AIB Corporate Banking, is owned and run by CEO Pat Cooney, a Drogheda-native.

“I’ve been in the drinks industry for the past 40 years and it has been a nagging ambition to establish a distillery of my own,” said Pat.

“To be able to realise this ambition, with the encouragement and participation of my wife
and family, is a great bonus and to be able to establish this project in this super building
in my home town is a multiple bonus.”

Before Boann, Pat had built up soft drink maker and alcohol distributor, Gleeson
Group, alongside his wife Marie and four of their children. The Gleeson Group, a long
standing customer of AIB Corporate Banking, was sold to C&C Group in a 2012 deal
that valued the business at €58m.

“Having worked with AIB Corporate Banking before, I was very happy to talk to them about my new plans."

“Whiskey is a long term investment as it needs to mature for a minimum of three years before it can be sold and it’s generally four to five years before you get a return. AIB was prepared to take into account the market data which predicts that Irish whiskey will grow from 6.7 million cases in 2015 to 20 million cases by 2025. The craft beer business has also enjoyed a period of stunning growth with a further period of dramatic growth forecast both in market size and number of craft breweries.

“At Boann we hope to be a part of this success story.”

David Ward, Head of the Retail & Drinks sector team in AIB Corporate Banking, was Pat’s main contact.

“We were delighted to support Pat’s exciting and ambitious project which will deliver new job growth and develop the Irish whiskey and craft brewery sector for both export and the domestic market.”

The AIB Corporate team saw an opportunity bring in colleagues from the Commercial
Finance team to offer an invoice discounting solution for Boann – and here’s where David Avery, Head of Business Development in AIB Commercial Finance, joins the story.

“This is yet another great example of meaningful collaboration across the bank to ultimately meet the customer’s needs and expectations. We are delighted to support Pat and the business’s ongoing working capital requirement and work in partnership with them to assist future growth,” says David.

“We wish them every success with this new venture.”

“In the past I have found AIB Corporate to be very pro-business and also to have a real understanding of the needs of business particularly in an expansion phase.”

As with any deal, there’s always something interesting to be learned from listening to the customer, explains David Ward. “Did you know Drogheda was once home to 18 local distilleries, which slowly declined to just one by 1822? And the last distillery closed in 1968? That’s some of the distillery history I picked up from Pat as we worked on the deal for his business.

“By backing Pat and Boann, we’re helping create not just new jobs but a new era of whiskey making in the area.”