Jameson master distiller Barry Crockett retires after 47 yearsBy Melita Kiely
Barry Crockett, master distiller of Jameson Irish Whiskey, will retire this March after 47 years at the Midleton Distillery in Cork.
Crockett became an apprentice to his father and Midleton master distiller Max Crockett at the age of 17, before taking over in 1981.
During his 37 years as master distiller Crockett has seen the success of Irish whiskey, particularly that of Jameson, grow significantly, with successful releases such as the Midleton Very Rare in 1984 and the Single Pot Still Whiskeys of Midleton in 2011.
In November last year annual sales of the Jamesons brand reached the four million cases mark, driven by overwhelming sales in the US.
Crockett’s final whiskey launch, Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy in 2011, marked the first time an Irish Distiller’s product has been named after the master distiller since John Jameson.
Irish Distillers production director Peter Morehead 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 Nation, who has been mentored by Crockett for the past ten years, will succeed Crockett as master distiller. Nation joined the Middleton Distillery in 1977 and is currently a distiller and global brand ambassador for Jameson.
“As I now step down from the position of master distiller I am struck by what an incredible honour it has been to oversee the wonder that is the Midleton Distillery,” Crockett said. “This is especially the case as the Distillery is currently undergoing even more investment. I am particularly happy to see my successor Brian Nation take on the role of master distiller. I know that with his guidance the future of the distillery will see the balance between the heritage of the distillery and the ongoing need to constantly evolve well secured.”
Morehead added: “[Nation] brings the perfect blend of traditional craft and modern technology. Our future is in safe hands.”