Billy Leighton, Master Blender at Midleton distillery, has been inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame in a special ceremony at The Dean Hotel, Dublin. Billy was bestowed the great honour in recognition of his 42 years in the industry and contribution to the growth of the Irish whiskey category with Irish Distillers.

The Icons of Whiskey Ireland aim to recognise the diversity and passion within the Irish whiskey industry today. The awards are presented by Rob Allanson, Editor of Whisky Magazine who said: “Billy Leighton is an Irish whiskey legend. His contribution to the revival of single pot still whiskey has re-shaped the Irish whiskey landscape and whiskey fans around the world owe him a debt of gratitude. On behalf of Whisky Magazine, I’m delighted to welcome Billy into the Hall of Fame and look forward to seeing what he’s got up his sleeve next.”

With almost a decade of experience as Master Blender behind him, Billy has diligently managed the mature stocks of Irish whiskey at Midleton Distillery in Co. Cork and used his logistical nous to forecast future demands. Some of Billy’s finest triumphs have come in the past 10 years with the revival of the much-loved Redbreast whiskey amongst his greatest achievements. The launch of Redbreast Dream Cask in May 2018 has arguably been the crowning glory of his work with Ireland’s most famous single pot still whiskey and will be remembered as Billy’s dream whiskey.

Billy, commented: “I’m deeply honoured to join the pantheon of whiskey greats in the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame, not least an old mentor of mine, Barry Crockett. It has been a pleasure to watch Irish whiskey regain its rightful place amongst the world’s leading spirits and I hope I’ve been able to make a contribution to this. Finally, I must thank the rest of the production team, past and present, whose dedication to craft and excellence has supported in the creation of some of the finest Irish whiskeys of all time, it’s been a pleasure and I look forward to what we can conjure up next.”

Conor McQuaid, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman at Irish Distillers, commented: “It is a pleasure to offer my congratulations to Billy Leighton upon his induction to the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame – he has been a true inspiration to Irish Distillers and the wider whiskey world over the course of his many years of dedicated service. His commitment to crafting whiskey that is worthy of revitalising the category has inspired a whole new generation with Irish whiskey and for this we will be forever grateful. We doth our cap to Billy and raise a glass in tribute to our Master Blender.”

Irish Distillers was also honoured with a number of top accolades including Visitor Attraction of the Year and Irish Whiskey Producer of the year.



About Irish Distillers
Irish Distillers is Ireland’s leading supplier of spirits and wines and producer of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys. Led by Jameson, our brands are driving the global renaissance of Irish whiskey. Jameson is the world’s fastest-growing Irish whiskey, experiencing 28 years of consecutive growth and hitting sales of 7.3m cases in 2018. Our brands are exported to 130+ markets, with over 80 of those experiencing double- or triple-digit growth.Irish Distillers was formed in 1966, when a merger took place between John Power & Son, John Jameson & Son and Cork Distilleries Company. In 1988 Irish Distillers joined Pernod Ricard, gaining access to unprecedented levels of investment and an extensive global distribution network. Since 2012, we have invested over €250m to double our production and bottling capacity to meet global demand for our products.

We employ over 600 people across our operations in Cork and Dublin.

About Pernod Ricard
Pernod Ricard is the world’s n°2 in wines and spirits with consolidated Sales of €8,987 million in FY18. Created in 1975 by the merger of Ricard and Pernod, the Group has undergone sustained development, based on both organic growth and acquisitions: Seagram (2001), Allied Domecq (2005) and Vin&Sprit (2008). Pernod Ricard holds one of the most prestigious brand portfolios in the sector: Absolut Vodka, Ricard pastis, Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, Royal Salute and The Glenlivet Scotch whiskies, Jameson Irish whiskey, Martell cognac, Havana Club rum, Beefeater gin, Malibu liqueur, Mumm and Perrier-Jouët champagnes, as well Jacob’s Creek, Brancott Estate, Campo Viejo and Kenwood wines. Pernod Ricard employs a workforce of approximately 18,900 people and operates through a decentralised organisation, with 6 “Brand Companies” and 86 “Market Companies” established in each key market. Pernod Ricard is strongly committed to a sustainable development policy and encourages responsible consumption. Pernod Ricard’s strategy and ambition are based on 3 key values that guide its expansion: entrepreneurial spirit, mutual trust and a strong sense of ethics.

Pernod Ricard is listed on Euronext (Ticker: RI; ISIN code: FR0000120693) and is part of the CAC 40 index.

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