Rebel City Distillery to represent LEO Cork City at National Enterprise Awards 2024

Rebel City Distillery, which has revived part of the iconic Ford Factory building into a sustainable distillery and visitor centre, will represent Local Enterprise Office, Cork City at the National Enterprise Awards 2024.  

The announcement was made as Local Enterprise Week 2024 kicks off with a diverse range of in-person and online events taking place in Cork City throughout the week. 

Husband and wife team, Robert and Bhagya Barrett, opened Rebel City Distillery in June 2020 and have grown the business into a successful distillery selling their products in Ireland and across the globe including USA, Germany and France. 

They also set up an award-winning visitor centre at the premises at the Marina Commercial Park which offers customers an immersive and educational experience of the distilling process as well as the history of the Cork Docklands.

 Local Enterprise Offices from all over the country select a representative for the National Enterprise Awards which are held in the Mansion House in Dublin every year.  This is the 24th year of the awards which celebrate the best small businesses in Ireland. 

Dr Niall O’Keeffe, Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office, Cork City, said: “Rebel City Distillery is a fantastic example of how a small business can grow to become a highly successful internationally recognised brand.  Through hard work and dedication, Robert and Bhagya have transformed an unused building into a vibrant business.  We are delighted to announce them as this year’s LEO Cork City’s representative for the National Enterprise Awards and I would like to wish them the very best of luck.” 

Robert Barrett is a Master Distiller with over 15 years of industry expertise and holds a Masters in Distilling and Brewing from Heriot Watt University.  Bhagya Barrett is Business Development & Creative Director and holds an MBA in Project Management and a Bachelor of Engineering in IT. 

Speaking about the National Enterprise Awards, Bhagya said:  “We are honoured to represent Local Enterprise Office, Cork City at this year’s National Enterprise Awards.  We are doing a job that we really enjoy and it’s wonderful to see all our efforts being recognised in this way.  LEO Cork City has been a massive support to us on our journey from opening to what we are today and we would really encourage anyone who is starting out in business to contact them for advice and support.” 

Local Enterprise Week runs from Monday March 4th to Friday March 8th.  There is a mixture of in-person and online events which are all free to attend but people must register online to attend. 



Notes to Editor: 

  • Rebel City Distillery has received a number of supports from LEO Cork City which has helped the company grow from a start-up idea to a successful business.  These include a Priming Grant, Business Community Voucher, Trading Online Voucher, Business Expansion Grant,  Technical Assistance for Micro Exporters together with business mentoring and various business training courses.
  • Rebel City Distillery was LEO Cork City’s representative in the Local Enterprise Village at the National Ploughing Championships 2022