Monday, January 28, 2019

Conor O’Driscoll Joins Heaven Hill Distillery as Seventh Master Distiller

What follows is a press release, but it seems to do the job just fine. I deleted the most self-serving corporate claptrap.

I've met O’Driscoll and he's a good guy, with a great mix of experience. He replaces Denny Potter, who is now at Maker's Mark. Potter replaced Greg Davis, who was promoted to Director of Distillation at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont. Young distillers building a career, which was practically impossible two decades ago, are another sign of industry health.

Heaven Hill has confirmed that their press release was in error. O'Driscoll is actually the seventh master distiller in Heaven Hill's 84-year history. They are Joseph L. Beam, Harry Beam (father and son), Earl Beam (cousin), Parker and Craig (Earl's son and grandson), and Denny Potter. I have taken the liberty of correcting both the headline above and the text that follows.

Heaven Hill Distillery is proud to announce Conor O’Driscoll as the seventh Master Distiller in its 84-year history. O’Driscoll’s wealth of experience in the industry and technical expertise gives him the ability to focus on quality, authenticity and innovation, all hallmarks of the Heaven Hill distilling legacy.

“Conor is among the finest young distillers in our business and we could not be more thrilled to have him at the forefront of distilling for our historic portfolio,” said Max L. Shapira, President, Heaven Hill Brands. “In his 15 years in the industry, he’s played a key role in growing production and innovation, with an expectation of quality and a respect for craftsmanship. In that regard, he is a perfect fit for us.”

In 2004, O’Driscoll started his journey in whiskey as Operations Manager for the Brown-Forman Distillery in Shively. After five years, Conor moved to oversee operations at the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Shortly thereafter, he added warehousing and processing responsibilities beginning a robust warehouse expansion program. In 2017, O’Driscoll left Woodford Reserve to lead the operations efforts at Angel’s Envy Distillery in Louisville.

“I’m very proud to be a part of Heaven Hill’s storied whiskey legacy,” said O’Driscoll. “The trust of the Shapira family is humbling. And I am excited and honored to carry on the traditions of the Master Distillers that helped establish Heaven Hill’s place in the industry.  I am especially honored to carry on the legacy of Parker Beam, whose expectations for quality and consistency live on today.”

O’Driscoll will immediately begin leading the distilling and warehousing teams at the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville.  Recent renovations at that facility, including a new still, earned it the designation of the largest single-site Bourbon distillery.

A native of Dublin, Ireland, O’Driscoll moved to the United States in 1989 after completing his degree in Chemical Engineering at University College Dublin. His early experiences with Pfizer and Aker Kvaerner paved the way for his move to whiskey distilling where he’s pursued his passion ever since. He resides in Louisville with his wife and family.


Richard Turner said...

Awww, Jayzzzz, and Irishman, dontcha know! I just hope he won't rep-lace all the column stills with pots... KIDDING!!!
I'm sure he's well qualified (sounds like it), and I expect he'll do well and show all of us proud HH fans what he can do. Bets of Luck to Connor!

Brian (AKA The Dean) said...

Leave it to Chuck to know more about Beam than the (current) employees of Beam.

Sounds like a great hire and we all wish him well.

Just taking this opportunity to say I purchased a bottle of Beam Repeal Batch last week. I was shocked at the differrence the absence of chill filtering (and the small proof bump) made to this whiskey. For around $10 I immediately returned to the store and bought 5 more bottles. I'm not a fan of Beam white. But this was some very nice basic hooch.

Anonymous said...

Good now maybe we can quit fooling around with the Parker’s heritage line and get it back on track

Sam Komleniic said...

I just met Conor at WhiskyFest Chicago and was very impressed with this affable gent. He is obviously well-qualified and has great presence and an undeniable sense of humor. I am confident in his ability to manage operations at Heaven Hill, and who could argue against an Irishman's ability to make and even improve already great whiskey?

I can't wait to see what his influence adds to the HH lineup. Congratulations, Conor!