Alltech chief to bring brewing convention to Ireland for 'Gathering'

Nicholasville-based animal nutrition giant Alltech wants to feed its Irish roots.

Founder Pearse Lyons, a native of Dundalk, Ireland, announced Tuesday he will support the Irish government's 2013 tourism and business initiative, dubbed "The Gathering," with eight events in Ireland this year, including a new International Craft Brewing and Distilling Convention. The events will have an estimated economic impact in Ireland of as much as $4.3 million, according to Failte Ireland business tourism research.

"As a proud Irishman, I am going to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by The Gathering," Lyons said in a news release. "I plan to bring our top events and people from all over the world to Ireland, where we can celebrate the Irish tradition of international commerce and trade, and highlight the enormous potential that resides in Ireland. I do this because, like any Irish person who works abroad, I am intensely proud of my home, of its unique identity and its rich history, but most of all, I am proud of its people and of what we have, and still can, achieve."

The events include:

■ In April, the Alltech Innovative Competition, for teams from five Irish universities.

■ In June, participation in events commemorating the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's visit to Ireland.

■ In July, the Gala Evening Celebration of Music, Arts and Culture, the Alltech Brewing and Distilling Academy, the International Craft Brewing and Distilling Convention, and the Alltech Entrepreneur Academy.

■ In August, the Lifeforce Equine Digestive Health Seminar, in anticipation of the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

■ In September and October, the Global Dairy and Beef 500, and the Alltech Presidents' Club, an invitation gathering of CEOs from global agribusiness companies.

"This is what The Gathering 2013 is all about," said Ireland's prime minister, Enda Kenny. "This very commendable initiative from Alltech highlights the brilliant opportunity offered by this yearlong festival for many different types of events, which can really benefit Ireland, not only in the year of The Gathering but in the longer term."

The brewing and distilling conference in July will feature an expo, seminars, food pairing and demonstrations, the Alltech Beer and Spirits Competition, and the Alltech Kentucky Night, a celebration of Irish and bluegrass music.

Alltech makes its Kentucky Ale products, Town Branch Bourbon and Pearse Lyons Reserve Bourbon in Lexington. Alltech also has revived the Carlow Brewing Co. in Bagenalstown, County Carlow, Ireland, and late last year, it began making Irish whiskey, which will be aged for three years in barrels from the Town Branch distillery.