Alltech expands funding for WEG

Alltech, which is paying $10 million to be the title sponsor of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, announced another major Games sponsorship on Monday that will boost its commitment so far to $11 million.

The Nicholasville biotechnology company said it will pay $1 million to make its Kentucky Ale the official beer of the games in 2010.

The commitment will lead to a "very significant" expansion of Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. near downtown at 401 Cross Street, said Pearse Lyons, Alltech founder and president. Details of the expansion will be announced "in a matter of days," after the final agreements are signed, Lyons said.

He also announced that Ken Lee, a former brew master for the Boston-based Samuel Adams Brewery Co., is now brew master at the Lexington brewery, which also produces Kentucky Light and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.

Lee, who was leading tours of the Cross Street facility, called Kentucky Ale "the most exciting beer in the country now."

Alltech's distillery also is aging its first batch of Pearse Lyons Reserve malt whiskey, expected to be available on Sept. 25, 2010, the day the Games begin at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Lyons said Alltech also is shipping its ales to Japan later this month in an effort to introduce them to the Asian market.

Alltech's sponsorship announcement was the first in several months for the World Games 2010 Foundation, which is organizing the 16 days of competition that will determine eight world championships.

The foundation, which has blamed the recession for a slowdown in new corporate sponsorships, hopes to raise nearly $30 million of its $76.4 million total budget from such corporate deals.

Before Monday's announcement, about 70 percent of the goal had been reached and more agreements were being finalized, the foundation said.

Alltech is now the title sponsor and provider of the official beer and the official ice cream, Dippin' Dots, for the Games. Other announced sponsors include Rolex, John Deere, Ariat International and the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington.