Billy Leighton will continue to support Irish Distillers’ brands as Master Blender Emeritus following an incredible 47-year career at Irish Distillers
Irish Distillers, producer of some of the world’s most well-known and successful Irish whiskeys, today announces the appointment of Billy Leighton to Master Blender Emeritus as Dave McCabe steps into his predecessor’s role as the new Master Blender at Irish Distillers.
Billy will remain at the business supporting Irish Distillers’ brands as Master Blender Emeritus following an incredible 47-year career at Irish Distillers. Billy originally started as a trainee accountant, in the then Irish Distillers owned Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim. He then moved into production, working in a variety of roles across bottling, warehousing, maturation and blending before being appointed Master Blender at Midleton Distillery in 2004.
As blender, Dave McCabe has spent several years working closely with Billy gaining experience, knowledge and an in depth understanding into the art of blending. Dave joined the business in 2010 and held several roles, including Irish Whiskey Academy Tutor, International Whiskey Ambassador and Process Technologist, before being appointed Blender in 2018.
Nodjame Fouad, Chairman and CEO at Irish Distillers said:
At Irish Distillers, we understand how important our people are to our success and over the past almost five decades working in the business, Billy Leighton has played an instrumental role in the success of all our brands, and the renaissance of the Irish whiskey category globally. Billy’s role in the resurgence of Redbreast, the world’s most awarded single pot still Irish whiskey*, can’t be underestimated and today we celebrate his career while heralding in a new era with the appointment of Dave McCabe as Master Blender. We are delighted that Billy will stay on as Master Blender Emeritus, supporting our brands.
Today, we announce the official passing of the Master Blender torch from Billy to Dave McCabe. I would like to congratulate Dave on the appointment and look forward to his tenure as Master Blender.
Billy Leighton, Master Blender at Irish Distillers said:
I have spent most of my working life at Irish Distillers, and I am truly grateful for the opportunities my job and this business has afforded me. While I will be stepping down from the Master Blender role, I will not be stepping away from the business and I look forward to embracing my Master Blender Emeritus role, working with brand teams on special launches. I would like to take this time to wish a much-respected colleague and friend, Dave McCabe, the very best as he takes the Master Blender baton and I look forward to continuing to work with him. Dave and I have worked closely together for years and really enjoy our collaborations. I’ve seen first-hand his passion, expertise and knowledge that will ensure he is a fantastic Master Blender. Our whiskeys are in great hands.
Dave McCabe, Master Blender at Irish Distillers said:
I feel both excited and privileged to be appointed Master Blender in Irish Distillers, following in the footsteps of a true Master. I would like to thank Billy for all that he has contributed to my professional development, he has been an exceptional colleague, mentor, and friend. I truly learned from the best. I am incredibly honoured to take up this role and I am excited for the future ensuring the quality and reputation of Irish Distillers’ portfolio.
*Based on the tasting results of the six most influential tasting competitions (2011-2022), including; The Irish Whiskey Masters, International Wine and Spirits Challenge, International Spirits Challenge, Beverage Testing Institute, San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Ultimate Spirits Challenge.)