Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. is a passion and a legacy for Dr. Pearse Lyons. Born and raised in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland, Lyons hails from five generations of coopers who supplied barrels to distilleries in Ireland for a quarter of a century. Lyons went on to become the first Irishman to achieve a formal degree in brewing and distilling from the British School of Malting and Brewing. While at university, he interned at both the Guinness and Harp Lager breweries and later worked as a biochemist for Irish Distillers, makers of the beloved Jameson whiskey.
In 1999, when the former Lexington Brewing Company in downtown Lexington was closing its doors, Lyons purchased it and resurrected the brewing and distilling tradition of Lexington that dates back to 1794. The first beer from Lyons’ new brewery was launched with Kentucky Ale®, a blend of two classic beer styles – an Irish red ale and an English pale ale. A breakthrough came several years later when Kentucky Ale was placed into freshly emptied bourbon barrels from nearby distilleries to soak up the fresh bourbon and oak flavors. Thus, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale® was born in 2006 and soon became the brewery’s flagship brew. It is often considered to be one of the forerunners of the bourbon-barrel aging trend in craft beer – truly a product of bourbon country.
Lyons is passionate about building further growth in the craft brewing and distilling industry and helping entrepreneurs. He is the founder of two major craft brew festivals and professional craft beer competitions that bring brewers and craft beer enthusiasts together each year in Dublin, Ireland, and in Lexington, Kentucky. He also is behind the Kentucky Ale® Brew-Off, an annual pro-am competition hosted by Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. that provides an opportunity for homebrewers to showcase their brews to a wider audience. Several winners of the brew-off have gone on to establish their own successful breweries or pubs.