Whisky Magazine Issue 22
This article is 12 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.
Copyright Whisky Magazine © 1999-2015. All rights reserved. To use or reproduce part or all of this article please contact us for details of how you can do so legally.
The hands-on whiskey makers who have helped re-shape Irish whiskey, in conversation with Michael Jackson
1: The distiller
He looks the part (a hint of the leprechaun?) but Barry
Crockett does not make his whiskey under a toadstool. He was born in a distillery – Midleton, in County Cork – and came of age when the industry wanted to re-create itself.
MJ: People ask me what makes a whiskey Irish. There is also the question as to what makes a person Irish. I remember our chatting about this once over a drink in San Francisco. Romantics like to depict Ireland as a purely Celtic country, but I think your own blend – if you will pardon the expression – is more typical, isn't it?
BC: Barry is a Norman name. When the Normans came, the nearest part of Ireland was Cork. Round here, Barry is a typical surname. My maternal grandfather was called David Barry. Hs surname was passed on to me. Crockett may be a Huguenot name.
MJ: Ah, a French Scotsman, like the famous brewer John Courage? The Huguenots made an extraordinary contribution to the drinks industry.
BC: My paternal grandfather was of Scottish origin, but born in England. My father was the last Head Distiller at Watercourse. That was a long-established distillery in Cork city. It was owned by the Murphy family, who also owned the Midleton Distillery, on the site where we are now.
MJ: You were born and raised in the distillery. Actually on site…
BC: We lived in a house amid the distillery buildings.
MJ: A large cottage, a significant example of Georgian architecture. What are your first memories?
BC: I am not sur...