Dr Pearse Lyons, Founder of Alltech which spawned the Pearse Lyons Distillery at St James in Dublin, as well as a range of craft beers and spirits died yesterday at 73.
The Irish entrepreneur built a multibillion-dollar international agricultural and brewing business.
Dr Lyons was an entrepreneur and tireless innovator, with a keen scientific mind. His scientific expertise, combined with an acute business sense, helped revolutionise the animal feed industry through the introduction of natural ingredients to animal feed.
But the company’s reach was to grow far beyond yeast-based additives for animal feed to include award-winning beers and spirits, a crop science business and even promising research into human health challenges such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
He was widely regarded as an inspirational leader and communicator having built Alltech into the fastest-growing company in the global animal health and nutrition industry through innovative technology and strong branding. Today, Alltech is the only privately-held and family-owned business among the top animal health companies in the world.
An expert in agricultural yeast and fermatation, he set up Alltech in the early 80s in the US which grew to international proportions, today employing over 5,000 people globally.
In 1999 he set up the Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, to produce what was to become Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale among other beers.
In 2008, using two copper pot stills bought from Scotland, the company distilled its first batches of whiskey in the brewery, changing its name to Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company in the process and building Town Branch Distillery across the street from the brewery to produce Pearse Lyons Reserve.
He was very proud of the company’s privately-owned status and was resolute on keeping it.
Last year he realised a long-held dream and opened an Irish whiskey distillery here in Dublin in the Pearse Lyons Distillery near Christchurch.
He also set up the Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair, an annual event in Dublin and was a great communicator always with an eye to innovation.
“If you’re not different, I’m not going to your pub” he once told an audience of international Irish publicans attending an Educational Programme as part of an Irish Pubs Global/Alltech International Craft Brews and Food Fair in Dublin.
He’s survived by his wife Deirdre, daughter Aoife Louise and son Mark.