This year marks 221 years since the Whiskey Rebellion, a revolution of early Irish settlers in North America against George Washington's tax on distilled spirits, which saw many of these early distillers taking their craft to Bourbon County, Virginia, where they created the first bourbon. Today it is 221 days since Beam Inc., distillers of world-famous bourbon Jim Beam, purchased Cooley Distillery, the last remaining independent distillery in Ireland. Now Irish-born Dr. Pearse Lyons has begun his own revolution, bringing the spirit full-circle.
"A truly momentous event has happened as the first stills are shipped from Kentucky to Ireland, completing the cycle with this fantastic craft finally returning to its place of origin. This will set the stage for a new Irish whiskey with a Kentucky flair," said Lyons, president and founder of Alltech.
Dr. Lyons has a number of historical connections to the distilling industry, with five generations of coopers in the family and a grandfather who was a master cooper. He also holds a master's degree in brewing and distilling and a PhD in yeast fermentation. Continuing this tradition, his son Mark Lyons also received his PhD in brewing and distilling from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland.
The new whiskey will not be Alltech's first foray into Spirits. Alltech's Town Branch Bourbon and Pearse Lyons Reserve Single Malt Whiskey, both recent gold medal winners at the 2012 World Spirit Awards, and the company is close to completing a $4.5 million distillery project in downtown Lexington, Ky. is on track for a September opening.
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