Irish Distillers master distiller heads to Minneapolis to work for O’Shaughnessy Distilling Company

A craft spirits startup in Minnesota has secured the services of Irish Distillers’ master distiller Brian Nation.

Nation has spent the past 23 years producing iconic Irish whiskey such as Jameson, Redbreast, Powers and Midleton Very Rare.

Irish Distillers announced that he was leaving the business today, with Kevin O’Gorman taking over. Nation will now head to Minnesota to work for a new company called O’Shaughnessy Distilling Company.

The firm is building a distillery in Minnesota, which is slated to open in the summer of 2021. Nation will be the full-time master distiller, producing whiskey, gin, rum and liqueurs.

O’Shaughnessy Distilling Company is the brainchild of cousins Patrick and Michael O’Shaughnessy, whose family left Ireland during the Potato Famine of 1847 and crossed the Atlantic in search of a better life.

The plan is to honour the family’s Irish heritage and use some Irish ingredients during the production process.

“I have gained years of distilling experience with some of the best names in the industry and am very grateful for that, but joining the O’Shaughnessy family to build this new brand is the opportunity and adventure of a lifetime for me and my family,” said Nation. “I look forward to melding my Irish lineage with a new American experience and crafting a unique collection of whiskeys that people can share and experience together.”

Patrick O’Shaughnessy, chairman of the new company, said: “Brian will add immeasurable experience through technique and artistry to our brand. He’s a person of impeccable character and absolutely the right partner to lead the creation of our whiskeys.”

Co-founder Michael O’Shaughnessy added: “O’Shaughnessy Distilling Company was created to bring our family together in a collaborative enterprise filled with creativity, passion and celebration. We found that Brian holds these same values and we knew he would be the perfect addition to our family business.”