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Alltech founder Dr Pearse Lyons dies

Dr Pearse Lyons, the entrepreneur behind Kentucky’s Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery and Dublin’s new Pearse Lyons Distillery, has died at the age of 73.

Alltech founder and president Dr Pearse Lyons has died at the age of 73

Scientist Dr Lyons died on 8 March following an acute lung condition that developed during his recovery from heart surgery.

Dr Lyons was the founder and president of US company Alltech, which primarily works across animal nutrition and crop science to “improve plant, feed and food quality through nutrition and scientific innovation”.

Alltech also owns a number of food and beverage businesses, including the Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co, which was established in 1999 and is part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail; Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery; and the new Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin.

Dueling Barrels, a combined brewery and distillery based in Kentucky’s Appalachian region, is currently under construction and is scheduled to open this spring.

The US$23m Pearse Lyons Distillery opened in September 2017 at the heart of The Liberties region of Dublin, based in a converted church. Once fully operational, the distillery expects to attract up to 75,000 visitors annually.

Ireland-born Dr Pearse Lyons descended from five generations of coopers and achieved a PhD in yeast fermentation. He was the first Irishman to receive a formal degree in brewing and distilling from the British School of Malting and Brewing.

He previously worked for Irish Distillers as part of the design team that built the Midleton Distillery in County Cork.

Dr Lyons moved to the US in 1977. In 1999, he had the chance to purchase Lexington Brewing and Distilling in Kentucky.

He built Alltech to become a multi-billion-dollar international business with more than 5,000 employees.

A ‘great man’

Alric Blake, CEO and treasurer of Alltech, said: “Dr Lyons was a visionary entrepreneur who transformed the agriculture industry beginning with his innovative application of yeast technology in animal nutrition. From farm to field, from market to family dinner table, our world is immeasurably better because he was a man who never saw problems, only a challenge that had not yet been solved.

“He inspired everyone he met with his energy, enthusiasm and passionate belief in possibilities. He instilled that positivity in his people, more than 5,000 Alltech team members around the world.

“I am confident I speak on behalf of all of them when I say that we are deeply honoured to have known and worked for such a great man. We will resolve to honour his legacy by deepening our commitment to his customers and all the innovative ideas he believed in so strongly.”

Dr Pearse Lyons’ son, Dr Mark Lyons, will become president of Alltech, while his wife Deirdre Lyons continues as director of corporate image and design. Dr Pearse Lyons’ daughter, Aoife Lyons, is Alltech’s director of educational initiatives and engagement.

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