Kentucky-based Alltech announced Tuesday that its distillery in Ireland will be called the Pearse Lyons Distillery after the company’s founder. The distillery will open to the public in spring 2017; it already has begun making Irish whiskey, to be released after aging five years.
The distillery is being built in the historic St. James’ Church, deconsecrated in 1964, in the Liberties section of Dublin and on the new tourism trail know as “The Dubline.”
“We are carefully restoring the property, which will allow visitors to experience a working boutique distillery, including a visitors center that will showcase the rich traditions of distilling in this historical area of Dublin city,” Deirdre Lyons, director of corporate image and design at Alltech, said in a news release.
The property will be visible from around the city thanks to a 10-ton glass and stainless steel spire, which will be lighted at night.
The earliest documented history of St. James’ Church was in 1268, when a gathering of pilgrims journeyed to the Church of St. James in Galicia, Spain, according to the news release. The existing church building dates from 1861. A walk through the church graveyard reveals that many people buried there were grocers, tanners, skinners, coopers, distillers and brewers, many of whom worked in one of the 30 breweries in the area.
The Lyons family has strong connections to St James’ Church. Pearse Lyons’ father, Thomas Lyons, was born near the church, on South Earl Street. In 1948, his grandfather John Hubert Lyons was one of the last people buried in the graveyard.
“We are thrilled by the latest addition to our family, in the heart of Dublin’s historic brewing and distilling district,” Pearse Lyons said. “Visitors will have the opportunity to feel, taste, see, smell and learn about the process of distilling Irish whiskey and take home some of their very own to share the story with their family and friends.”
Irish whiskey is one of the fastest-growing spirits globally.