Louth gin distillery dispute comes before High Court


Aodhan O'Faolain


Aodhan O'Faolain



Louth gin distillery dispute comes before High Court

A shareholders dispute over the running of a distillery and Gin School established on the grounds of the Listoke Estate in Co Louth has come before the High Court.

The action has been brought by Raymond and Juliet Gogan, who have brought High Court proceedings aimed at preventing their removal as directors of Listoke Distillery Ltd. 

The couple, who are the owners of Listoke House outside Drogheda, are shareholders and directors of the company, which was incorporated in 2016.

The distillery and gin school, where people learn the ins and outs of making gin,  had been located at the stable block area of Listoke House, and had proven to be very successful.

It produces and markets the 'Listoke 1777' brand of gin, and it was decided to expand the business. 

Mr Gogan was the firm's production director, while Mrs Gogan, who is a descendant of famous families synonymous with Irish and Scotch whiskey making such as the Jamesons, the Haigs, the Cairnes and the Steins, took responsibility for the Gin School. 

Their counsel James McGowan Bl told the High Court that in 2017 relations between shareholders deteriorated, and the couple says their position in the company is being undermined.

The affairs of the company are, the Gogan's claim, being conducted in a manner that is oppressive to them and in disregard of their interests as shareholders. 

Counsel said that the Gogan's felt they were being left out of important company decisions.  In November 2017 the couple says they were locked out of the business. 

Unable to carry out her duties in relation to the gin school Mrs Gogan resigned her position. 

Counsel said a decision was taken by the other shareholders, without informing the Gogans, to move the production side of the business and the gin school to an industrial estate. 

As a result the Gogans now seek various orders from the court against the company and the other shareholders Bronagh Conlon, James McKenna, Sean Norris and Susan Norris,

The orders include one preventing the couple's removal as directors of the company, that they be given reasonable access to the company's books and records, and an order restraining the company from holding a general meeting of the company.   

Counsel told the court that meeting is due to take place next Monday where it is proposed to remove in the Gogan's as directors. 

Others orders sought by the Gogan's include an order recommending the use an alternative dispute process aimed at resolving the dispute, or if necessary an order winding up the company. 

The application came before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart on Friday, who on an ex parte basis granted the Gogan's permission to serve short notice of the proceedings on their fellow shareholders and the company. 

The Judge made the matter returnable to date next week.