Bourbon Industry

Late Lexington distillery founder Pearse Lyons joins Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame

Pearse Lyons founded Alltech in Nicholasville, which he grew into a $3 billion global company. But his heart was always in making beer and whiskey, and in 1999 he bought the former Lexington Brewing Co. and began making Kentucky Ale. In 2008, he added Town Branch Distillery, and now has a brewery and distillery in Pikeville and a distillery in Dublin, Ireland.
Pearse Lyons founded Alltech in Nicholasville, which he grew into a $3 billion global company. But his heart was always in making beer and whiskey, and in 1999 he bought the former Lexington Brewing Co. and began making Kentucky Ale. In 2008, he added Town Branch Distillery, and now has a brewery and distillery in Pikeville and a distillery in Dublin, Ireland. Provided

Alltech founder Pearse Lyons was among those inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame on Friday. The late Lyons founded Town Branch Distillery and Kentucky Ale in Lexington, the only joint brewery and distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

This is the bourbon’s highest honor, according to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, which created the hall of fame.

The other inductees were:

Freddie Johnson, the third-generation Buffalo Trace Distillery worker who now is a VIP tour leader;

Matthew J. Shattock, chairman and CEO of Beam Suntory.

Max L. Shapira, president of Heaven Hill Brands, also will be honored with the Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award.

“This year’s class truly shows the diversity of personas behind the growing Golden Age of Kentucky Bourbon, from a beloved tour guide whose wisdom and personality embodies and elevates our visitors’ experience, to the leadership and passion of three top executives who have forged the path to our current success,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, in a news release.

The Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame was created in 2001 and every year the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant and transformative contributions to the bourbon industry.

Dedication of Lexington’s St. Patrick’s Day parade to Dr. Pearse Lyons delivered by Megan Moloney, vice pres. of the Bluegrass Irish Society, as the William Sutherland Reid Pipes & Drums plays Amazing Grace.



Freddie Johnson, 3rd generation worker and tour guide at Buffalo Trace Distillery, talks about his surprise in winning the hospitality award in Lexington.

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