Whisky Advocate’s 19th Annual Award: Lifetime AchievementFebruary 2nd, 2013
Barry Crockett, Midleton master distiller
Search Wikipedia for “Barry Crockett” and you’ll be asked if you mean “Barry Crocker,” the Australian singer and actor. There is no Wikipedia entry for Barry Crockett and that’s a serious, almost shameful omission. Barry Crockett has had a part in celebrations around the world for over 30 years. Every time folks lifted a glass of Jameson, Powers, Paddy’s, Crested Ten, Redbreast, or Midleton, they were lifting Barry’s work, and the celebration was happier for it.
There are families of distillers — we know the Grants, the Beams — but while some are born into distilling, very few are born on the distillery grounds. Crockett was born in the Distiller’s Cottage at Midleton distillery, where his father Maxwell was the master distiller. When he turned 17, he started working at the distillery, and succeeded Max in 1981. The Crocketts, father and son, have been shaping Irish distilling for over 70 years.
That longevity alone would be enough to earn him recognition, but as master distiller at Irish Distillers, Barry Crockett was the most influential whiskey maker during the incredible explosion that took place in Irish whiskey over the past 20 years. That success has given Crockett and Midleton the freedom and incentive to bring us a blossoming of new Irish whiskeys; especially a whole new stable of single pot still whiskeys. One of those, of course, is the aptly named Barry Crockett Legacy. Wikipedia really needs to get up to speed; they’re missing important information.