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Master distiller Brian Nation departs Irish Distillers

Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers unit has named Kevin O’Gorman the new master distiller of Midleton Distillery, taking over from Brian Nation.

Kevin O’Gorman is the new master distiller of Midleton Distillery

Nation joined Irish Distillers in 1997 and became master distiller in 2013. He will leave the company to take on the role of master distiller at a start-up distillery in the US.

“As I step down from the position of master distiller, I am struck by what an incredible honour it has been to hold this role,” said Nation. “I have been fortunate to work with a fantastic team at Midleton for the past 23 years and have experienced enormous change, development, and innovation, from the recent expansion of our distillery to the development of new distillate styles in the microdistillery.

“I am delighted to see Kevin take on the role of master distiller. I know that, under his leadership, the quality and reputation of Irish Distillers’ portfolio will continue to flourish long into the future.”

As part of his new role as master distiller, O’Gorman will be responsible for the company’s Irish whiskey brands – including Jameson – and ensuring the quality of all new pot and grain distillates at Midleton, in addition to supporting future innovation.

A Cork native, O’Gorman was a technology graduate from the University of Limerick and holds a diploma in distilling from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. His career at Midleton began in 1998, where he worked as a distiller under former master distiller Barry Crockett.

Since 2007, O’Gorman has held the role of master of maturation for Irish Distillers, following the retirement of previous incumbent Brendan Monks.

In his most recent position, O’Gorman was responsible for sourcing high-quality casks from cooperages around the world and oversaw the full maturation process across the Irish Distillers’ portfolio.

Conor McQuaid, chairman and CEO of Irish Distillers, said: “Kevin’s exceptional leadership and talent as master of maturation has impressed the whiskey world ever since he took on the role in 2007.

“We know that he will continue to impress as master distiller, an evolved role which will see him lead both distillation and maturation at Irish Distillers. I am looking forward to working closely with Kevin as he drives the constant pursuit of excellence and innovation that has been exemplified by the entire team in Midleton for centuries.

“We are immensely grateful for everything Brian has done for Irish Distillers, and the entire Irish whiskey category, and we wish him all the very best in his future endeavours as he passes the baton to Kevin.”

O’Gorman added: “Since starting my career in Irish Distillers in 1998, I have been lucky to learn from masters like Barry Crockett and Brendan Monks about the intricacies of the whiskey production, from grain to glass.

“Of course, Brian Nation and I have also worked very closely together on distillation and maturation for the past 10 years and he will be missed by all his friends at Midleton Distillery. I am excited to use my experience to drive the sector forward by producing innovative new whiskeys that will delight whiskey fans over the coming years.”

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