Serial entrepreneur Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder of Town Branch Distillery will soon open another distillery, the Pearse Lyons Distillery. This time, he’s jumped 3,717 miles across the pond to his homeland of Dublin, Ireland. It will be the third distillery for parent company Alltech with headquarters in Lexington, KY. His first distillery, Town Branch Distillery opened in Lexington in 2012 and was the first “craft distillery” to be inducted into the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. Lyons broke ground on their second distillery, Dueling Barrels Distillery in 2015 in Pikeville, KY.
The trip to Ireland is nothing new for Lyons. He was born and raised in Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. His family tree includes five generations of coopers who supplied barrels to distilleries in Ireland for a quarter of a century. While in college, Lyons interned at both the Guinness and Harp Lager breweries and later worked as a biochemist for Irish Distillers, makers of Jameson whiskey.
Location, Location, Location – The Dubline Discovery Trail
The new Pearse Lyons Distillery is located on The “Dubline,” Dublin’s newest tourist trail developed by Failte Ireland, which runs from College Green to Kilmainham. The trail includes Ireland’s No. 1 international tourist attraction, the Guinness Storehouse, home to the world famous stout since 1759. Just down the street from there, you’ll find the Old Jameson Irish Whiskey Distillery.
St. James’ Church Before Renovations
The Lyons family purchased the St. James’ Church in December 2013. A huge amount of time, energy and passion has been dedicated to renovating and rebuilding the church. Located in the heart of the Liberties, the distillery will provide a fresh lease of life into what was once the heart of the Irish beverage industry. The Liberties bustled with breweries, distilleries and cooperages during the 19th century. It is recorded that there were as many as 30 brewers operating in the area in 1804. Known as “The Golden Triangle,” the area was credited with making Irish whiskey one of the most popular spirits in the world, before a long period of decline during prohibition, which forced many distilleries out of business.
A Shining New Spire in the Night
“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,” said Deirdre Lyons, co-founder of Alltech and Director of Corporate Image and Design for the company.
For the first time in almost 70 years, the church will once again have a spire. The old steeple on the church was removed around 1948 but those renovations were never completed. Today, the distillery can be identified from various points in the city by its innovative spire that beautifully enhances the Dublin city skyline. The new glass spire weighs in at nearly 11 tons (10 tonnes) and shines like a beacon in the area once known as the “Golden Triangle.”
The magnificent structure is composed of eight stainless steel rafters converging at the top and is hand-welded at all intersections. As part of the restoration process, the stone columns of the church have been carefully preserved, which originated from the city of Caen in Normandy, France. The slate roof tiles have been meticulously replaced from the original quarry in Wales.
A True Family History: Grandfather Buried on the Property
The St. James’ Church current building dates back to 1861. A walk through the church graveyard reveals the many people buried there as grocers, tanners, skinners, coopers, distillers and brewers, many of whom worked in one of the 30 breweries operating in the area. The Lyons family have strong connections to St James’ Church. Pearse Lyons’ father, Thomas Lyons, was born near the church and in 1948, his grandfather, John Hubert Lyons, was one of the last people buried in the graveyard.
The Pearse Lyons Distillery plans to open its doors to worshippers of Irish whiskey in the spring of 2017. It is expected that the distillery could attract thousands to the area, as its sister distillery, Town Branch Distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.