Starting out at Irish Distillers in 1976 as a trainee accountant, Billy Leighton jumped at the chance to move into production. In 1988 he took on the role of vatting manager, where initially he oversaw the preparation of whiskey for bottling. Over time the role grew and he gradually took on responsibility for large amounts of the production process – blending, warehousing, maturation and even distilling.
Billy then became deputy chief blender and worked for a number of years with former Jameson master blender and industry legend, Dr Barry Walsh, before taking over the position himself when Barry retired in 2004. He is now responsible for the ongoing production of the Irish Distillers' range, carefully selecting casks to ensure that each whiskey maintains its famous character over time.