Alltech founder Pearse Lyons celebrated his birthday in a big way Tuesday, unveiling his own malt whiskey — Pearse Lyons Reserve — and showing off renderings of a distillery he plans to build at the Cross Street site where Alltech's Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. is located.
Lyons said Pearse Lyons Reserve is bringing back a tradition that ended in Lexington decades ago when the James E. Pepper Distillery closed.
"It's very pleasing to the palate," said Ted Kuster of Paris, a self-described bourbon connoisseur who attended the Tuesday night celebration where guests sampled the whiskey and sang Happy Birthday to Lyons. "It's smooth. I like mine with ice."
And he was happy about plans for the expansion on Cross Street.
"I think that's a great undertaking because that's what people come to Kentucky to see, the distilleries," he said.
Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. — which already produces Kentucky Ale, Kentucky Light, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and a coffee liqueur called Bluegrass Sundown — plans to launch a new bourbon next year.
Lyons said his family in his native Ireland has a long history in the distilling industry, and he brought in dual copper pot stills from Scotland in which to distill Pearse Lyons Reserve.
"We've produced it in the traditional manner," he said. "There's almost a sweetness to it."
The whiskey will be available in Liquor Barn stores beginning Aug. 18.