Rebel City Distillery, the first new distillery in Cork city in almost fifty years, has launched its first release, Maharani Gin. Founded by Robert Barrett in 2020, Rebel City Distillery is situated in the heart of Cork’s historic Docklands, and will produce a range of premium spirits which draw inspiration from around the world. Maharani Gin celebrates a fusion of Cork and Keralan cultures, from where Robert and his wife Bhagya respectively come from. Maharani Gin is an homage to Keralan women who are known for their strength and importance in society.


Last night Mary-Jane from our team got to try the Gin, at the Zoom first pour. A self proclained Ginfluencer she was suitably impressed and decided to make the suggested pour called the Queen. Mint leaves, grapefruit ,ice and tonic. The gin itself is refreshing and punchy with a distinctive flavour and aroma. Andy from Cask says it is also perfect with an Olive.


Speaking about the launch, Rebel City Distillery’s Head Distiller and Co-Founder, Robert Barrett said, “We are really excited to finally introduce Maharani Gin to the world! Our plans for a launch event in our new distillery and an initial roll-out in bars around the country had to be significantly adjusted over the last few months in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we are thrilled that our product is now available to buy online and in select off-trade and retailers around the country so that consumers can finally get to enjoy this new product which we are immensely proud of.”


Maharani Gin

Keralan culture is traditionally matriarchal, and the word ‘Maharani’, meaning Queen, is a tribute to revolutionary women everywhere. The premium gin is zested with pomelo fruit, and uniquely spiced with cassia and nutmeg-mace, all sourced from a women’s organic farming co-operative in Bhagya’s home state of Kerala, India. This heady combination results in a gin of truly  transcendental taste, a liberation of spirit and spice.

Rebel City Distillery

Rebel City Distillery is a boutique distillery situated in the heart of Cork’s historic Docklands. Founded in 2020, Rebel City Distillery heralds a new wave of craftsmanship in Cork  as it is the first distillery within its city limits for almost 50 years.


Rebel City Distillery is breathing new life into a former Ford factory building, where it crafts, distils and bottles a unique range of spirits on-site. The distillery will produce premium spirits, which draw inspiration from around the world. The company is also planning to open a visitor centre later in 2020 offering tours, tastings and a gin school experience.


About the Founders

Robert Barrett is a biochemist turned fine spirits expert who, following a number of years researching cancer cell migration, spent more than a decade learning the art of crafting and distilling premium spirits around the world. Robert completed an MSc in Brewing & Distilling at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, which counts many stalwarts of the craft drinks industry among its alumni.


Robert then spent several years honing his expertise in Ireland and Canada with a number of renowned distilleries and drinks businesses. In Ireland this included Kilbeggan (now Beam); The Shed Distillery and FDT Consulting Engineers and Project Managers.  In Canada Robert worked with Vancouver-based Central City Brewers and Distillers where he set up and established their distillery focusing on whiskey, gin and vodka.


Robert combined this wealth of industry experience to set-up his own boutique distillery alongside his wife, Bhaghya and father, Brendan, and so Rebel City Distillery was founded in 2020.

This experience of different languages and cultures has provided Bhagya with a worldly perspective, and her own cultural identity inspired Maharani Gin. Bhagya identified the organic women’s farming co-operative in Wayanad, which is her favourite part of Kerala, as the perfect location to source Rebel City Distillery’s fine botanical selection.


Robert’s father Brendan Barrett mentored Robert in developing the business and was actively involved in the refurbishment and redevelopment of the distillery building in Cork city. Previously the Managing Director of Bam contractors for 25 years, where he managed a staff of 2,000, Brendan has had an extensive career in the fields of engineering and construction. He is currently a director of Peamount Healthcare.

For further information visit or follow the journey on social media @rebelcitydistillery