British liquor executive and spirits pioneer Tom Jago passed away in London on October 12. He was 93 years old, the New York Times reports.
Jago enjoyed more than 50 years working in the drinks industry, during which time he helped launch and revitalize a number of iconic liquor brands, including Baileys Irish Cream, Malibu Rum, and Johnnie Walker Blue.
Thomas Edwin Jago was born on July 21, 1925, in Camelford, England. He graduated from Oxford University’s Christ Church College, before serving as a Royal Navy officer in World War II. After the war, Jago completed his history degree at Oxford, before starting a career in the liquor industry in the 1950s.
In 1973, while working for British liquor company International Distillers & Vintners (I.D.V.), Jago helped concoct Baileys Irish Cream. It was the world’s first Irish Cream and would go on to become the world’s best-selling liqueur.
Jago worked on the rebranding of coconut rum brand Coco Rico in 1978. He changed its name and packaging, and moved bottling from South Africa, which was in the midst of apartheid, to England. Relaunching as Malibu Rum, the liqueur is now the world’s second-most-popular, after Baileys.
In 2008, along with James Espey and Peter Fleck, Jago founded the Last Drop Distillers, which discovers leftover casks of rare spirits in Scotland, France, Portugal, and the U.S. before packaging them and selling to connoisseurs.
The pioneering spirits executive is survived by daughter Rebecca Jago, and sons Barnaby, Dan, and Francis. Jago’s wife, Penelope (Vaughan Morgan) Jago, died earlier this year.