Barry Crockett, Master Distiller of Jameson Irish Whiskey, will retire this March, bidding adios to the Midleton Distillery in Cork after 47 years; 31 of which he spent as Master Distiller. The announcement comes, fittingly, in the week in which Crockett was honoured by Whisky Advocate with its Lifetime Achievement award. Brian Nation, who has been mentored by Barry Crockett for the last ten years, will take over the role of Master Distiller.
Born in the Distiller’s cottage that sits on the grounds of the Old Midleton Distillery, Barry Crockett has been immersed in the craft of whiskey distilling for almost 50 years. At the age of seventeen, Barry began learning his craft as a young apprentice to his father and Midleton Master Distiller, Max Crockett, eventually succeeding him as Master Distiller in 1981.
In 1984, Barry developed the award-winning 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.
To mark Barry’s retirement, he will be honoured with an intimate dinner party on 3rd September 2013 at ‘The Housewarming’ – a special event that will be held in Midleton to officially launch the new expansion amongst other things. Many of the close friends Barry has made during his time at Irish Distillers are expected to attend, where he will be presented with a special gift from his peers.
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, whilst also becoming the first Irish Distiller to receive this award.
Commenting on how it feels to be the new Master Distiller, Brian Nation, said: “It’s an incredible privilege to be Barry Crockett’s successor. Barry has dedicated his life to Midleton and is a well-known figure in the global whiskey industry, so it has been a great honour to be mentored by him over the last ten years. Barry has been an inspiration to me and I am looking forward to continuing the traditions that have gone before me and to ensuring the whiskeys of Midleton continue to be enjoyed and recognised as the best Irish Whiskeys in the world.”