Irish Distillers announces Crockett retirement

Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard has announced the retirement of Jameson Irish Whiskey master distiller Barry Crockett.

Crockett will retire next month (March) after 47 years: 31 of which he was master distiller.

Brian Nation, who has been mentored by Crockett for the last 10 years, will take over the role.

Born in the Distiller’s cottage that sits on the grounds of the Old Midleton Distillery, at the age of 17, Crockett began learning his craft as a young apprentice to his father and Midleton master distiller, Max Crockett, eventually succeeding him in 1981.

The announcement comes in the week in which Crockett was honoured by Whisky Advocate with its Lifetime Achievement award.

During his time as master distiller, Crockett has seen the success of Irish whiskey, and in particular Jameson, grow on an unprecedented scale.

In 1984, Crockett developed the flagship blend from the distillery, Midleton Very Rare, and in 2011 oversaw the launch of the Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton.

Launched to rejuvenate the popular style of whiskey to its former glory, the pinnacle of the range, Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy, marks the first time since John Jameson that an Irish Distillers product has been named after a master distiller.

Peter Morehead, Irish Distillers production director, said: “The Crockett family has dominated Irish distilling for more than 70 years, so Barry’s retirement truly marks the end of an era. We are really going to miss Barry - his passion for quality and his kind, gracious nature set him apart from the rest, as do his outstanding achievements. The success of Jameson, Midleton and the great whiskey brands it produces has not been a surprise to the people who know Barry and his high standards of excellence, so we are immensely grateful for everything he has done for Irish Distillers and of course the Irish Whiskey category. We wish him all the very best in his retirement."

Brian joined the Midleton Distillery, Cork in December 1997 and is currently a distiller and global brand ambassador for Jameson. He received the Worshipful Company of Distillers Award for achieving the highest IBD distilling exam results in the world in 2006, while also becoming the first Irish Distiller to receive this award.

To mark Barry’s retirement, he will be honoured with a dinner party on September 3, 2013 at ‘The Housewarming’ – a special event that will be held in Midleton to launch officially the new expansion among other things.