Irish Distillers Appoints Second New Cooper In 45 Years

By Sarah O'Sullivan
Irish Distillers Appoints Second New Cooper In 45 Years

Irish Distillers has appointed Derek Cronin as its second cooper at the Midleton Distillery in over 45 years, it was announced today.

Cronin earned the title following a four-year apprenticeship under master cooper Ger Buckley at the Cork distillery.

A cooper is trained to make and repair wooden casks for the storage and transportation of whiskey.

The cooper has an important role, as the contribution from the wood has a significant impact on the flavour profile of the whiskey.

Carpentry Skills

Waterford native Cronin travelled the world as part of his apprenticeship. He spent time in Scotland, France and Spain, working in a number of cooperages and broadening his skills and knowledge.


He previously trained as a carpenter and spent seven years living in Australia, honing his craft.

Upon his return, he worked as a carpenter with PJ Hegarty & Sons in Cork before joining Irish Distillers as a general operative in 2019.

Eager to use his craftsmanship, Cronin embarked on his cooperage apprenticeship in 2020.

‘A Wonderful Experience’

On his appointment as cooper, Cronin said, “Having trained and worked as a carpenter, I’ve always had a passion for craft and working with tools.

“When I joined Irish Distillers, I was immediately struck by Ger’s skill and knowledge, and really admired his passion for the ancient craft of coopering. It’s what inspired me to train as a cooper.”


Cronin continued, “It has been a privilege to work so closely with Ger over the last four years, learning about the craft and the history.

“I look forward to continuing to learn from Ger and expanding my knowledge and skills.”

Master cooper Buckley also welcomed the news of Cronin’s qualification, saying, ”Training Derek in the art of coopering for the last four years has been a wonderful experience.

“His background in carpentry enabled him to hit the ground running, and he has truly immersed himself in every aspect of the craft since the beginning, ensuring that the future of this age-old craft is in safe hands.

“I would like to officially welcome Derek into the cooperage fold and look forward to seeing his continued contribution to the store of Irish whiskey in Midleton.”

The news follows the reopening of the Midleton Distillery last month, after repairs were carried out in the wake of Storm Babet.