Was there ever another career path open to Barry Crockett? He was born in the distiller’s cottage at Midleton where his father Max was the master distiller. He succeeded him in 1981 and last year, after close on 50 years of service, handed the title over to Brian Nation. Those 50 years have been some of the most eventful in Irish whiskey’s history
Barry joined as trainee when Irish whiskey was struggling, but when he left the distillery it had become the fastestgrowing brown spirit category in the world and Jameson one of the globe’s hottest brands. That really is some legacy
He was the key member of a production team who redefined Irish whiskey by combining technology, innovation and craftsmanship with a deep sense of history. Midleton Very Rare, the new Jameson and Power’s expressions all sprang from this. When the Single Pot Still range was released in 2011 one deservedly carried his name
Anyone who has spent time with Barry knows that he is a polymath, able to have a discussion on distillation, Irish history, Classical languages and probably anything else which happened to crop up in the conversation. His knowledge is given freely, modestly and with a distinctive dry humour. With Barry you listen, you learn and your life is enriched. At the time of his retirement he said: “I am fortunate to have been part of the ongoing progress from an early age.” We’d say that we are the fortunate ones to have shared in it.
Not that he has retired. Rather, he is taking a degree in archival studies while settling into his new office at Midleton’s recently established archive. Its location? The house where he was born. His are the shoulders upon which the Irish whiskey renaissance stands