Master Distiller Lisa Wicker has been a distiller journeyman for the last 10 years. Her most recent journey over the last five years was as President and Master Distiller of Widow Jane Distillery in Brooklyn, New York. All along, Wicker always kept one foot in Kentucky and would often travel back and forth between New York City, where she would step out of the distillery to look across the Hudson River to see the Statue of Liberty, and her home (is where the heart is) in Bardstown, Kentucky.

Wicker’s former employer Samson and Surrey, owner of Widow Jane Distillery, which was acquired by Heaven Hill in February 2022, announced last month that she would be leaving the company to go back home to Kentucky. We now know where Lisa is going. Is it Louisville? Is it Bardstown the Bourbon Capital of the World or some other city. Well, we now know it’s the latter. Wicker is planting her distilling flag in Lexington, Kentucky with Alltech.

Lisa Wicker to be CEO & Master Distiller of Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co.

Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co. - CEO and Master Distiller Lisa Wicker
  • Save
Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co. CEO and Master Distiller Lisa Wicker.

Wicker will be taking the lead in a brand-new role as CEO & Master Distiller of Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co. at its world headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky. Alltech the parent company is known worldwide for improving plant, feed and food quality through nutrition and scientific innovation, particularly yeast-based technology.

The company was founded in 1980 by the late Dr. Pearse Lyons (that is him with his signature bow tie in the cover photo). Having once interned for Guinness and Harp Lager breweries and later working for Irish Distillers, makers of Jameson whiskey, you could say owning a brewery and distillery was part of his destiny. Unfortunately, Dr. Lyons unexpectedly passed away in 2018 at the age of 73.


Lyons Brewing & Distillery Co. Features a Trio of Breweries and Distilleries

Stay Informed: Sign up here for the Distillery Trail free email newsletter and be the first to get all the latest news, trends, job listings and events in your inbox.

Alltech got into the business of making alcohol in 2000 with the purchase of a brewery in Lexington. In 2011, they broke ground on distillery No. 1 with Town Branch Distillery and by 2012 they were in the craft spirits business and soon became one of the first craft distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. In July of 2017 Alltech celebrated another milestone with the ribbon cutting for distillery No. 2, the Pearse Lyons Distillery in Dublin. And most recently Alltech opened distillery No. 3 in 2018 with Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery in Pikeville, Kentucky.

The newly formed Lyons Brewing & Distilling Company now represents Alltech’s global brand for all three brewery and distillery beverage entities. The company says this new name is reflective of the business’ private and family-owned nature and will enable the business to better tell its story (and we completely agree).

  1. Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. (Town Branch Distillery), Lexington, Kentucky
  2. Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery, Pikeville, Kentucky
  3. Pearse Lyons Distillery and Pearse Lyons Brewery, Dublin, Ireland

Alltech’s brewing and distilling legacy is now lead by Dr. Mark Lyons, Pearse’s son, the seventh generation of the Lyons family to be involved in brewing and distilling, as well as his mother and Pearse’s wife, Deirdre Lyons. Recently, Mark and Deirdre developed a new global brand name for their family of breweries and distilleries. With the development of this new global brand, the Lyons family also began an international search for its first CEO earlier this year.

“We were looking for a leader who shares our team-focused values, commitment to excellence and passion for brewing and distilling,” said Dr. Mark Lyons, president of Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co.

“We were delighted to find those qualities in Lisa Wicker. When Lisa and I met, one of the elements that stood out most to me was her background as a scientist and journalist. As we appoint our first-ever CEO for Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co., it seems fitting that we found someone who, like my father did, has a deep enthusiasm for and expertise in the craft — both the science and the storytelling.”

Wicker’s early interest in the beverage business began on an Indiana vineyard, where she picked grapes as a farmhand and proved she was not afraid to get her hands dirty. Since then, her 20-year career journey has spanned many facets of the spirits industry, including winemaking, whiskey production, product development and fermentation management. She has held progressive roles in distilling and management at Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky; Starlight Distillery in Starlight, Indiana; and Preservation Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky.

Wicker’s strengths include building teams and mentoring others in the industry. She has trained brand ambassadors and distributors and conducted masterclasses at WhiskyFest in New York, Whiskies of the World in Washington, D.C., and The New Orleans Bourbon Festival in New Orleans, Louisiana.

“I am delighted to return to Bourbon country and have the opportunity to be part of the next phase of growth for Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co.,” said Wicker.

“The Lyons family’s story is unique in the brewing and distilling space, and the passion that the team has for their brand and their brewing and distilling processes is authentic. They have all of the elements to generate even greater success in the future, and I am looking forward to this next phase of growth alongside them.”

“Our breweries and distilleries were founded on family tradition, are steeped in rich history and are reflective of their communities,” said Lyons. “They hold stories that, when well-told, help connect people to our brand. Lisa’s experience with product development, combined with a degree in journalism and a shared belief in the power of storytelling, make her uniquely qualified to deliver on our vision for Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co. and to share what we find to be so special with even more people.”

Wicker began in her new role as CEO of Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co. in November and is based at the company’s Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. in Lexington, Kentucky. Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co. beer and spirits products are sold in 36 U.S. states and several countries.

A Serendipitous Sign – “I purchased Dr. Lyons, ‘The Alcohol Textbook’, years ago.”

The Alcohol Textbook Cover
  • Save
The Alcohol Textbook

While interviewing for the job as CEO of Lyons Brewing & Distilling Co. Wicker interviewed with Alltech President and CEO Dr. Mark Lyons, son of the late Dr. Pearse Lyons. Here is an excerpt from that conversation.

“I’m a believer in signs and omens. Years ago, it was a financial splurge for me to buy his Dad’s [Dr. Pearse Lyons] textbook, ‘The Alcohol Textbook‘. I’ve had it on my desk for years. His dad authored most of it. It’s so funny, mine is full of post-it notes and notes in the margins.

“Some of the signs were there years ago [that I would end up here].”

Order The The Alcohol Textbook’ here.


View all Featured Suppliers.

Stay Informed: Sign up here for the Distillery Trail free email newsletter and be the first to get all the latest news, trends, job listings and events in your inbox.

Please help to support Distillery Trail. Sign up for our Newsletter, like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. Cheers.

Recommended Posts