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Ex-Pat Planning On Setting Up New Distillery On James’ Street

St James Church and Cemetery, Dublin 8, Ireland - side view

Pearse Lyons, a Dundalk native who emigrated to the US in 1976, has applied to use the old James’ Street Church of Ireland church as a whiskey distillery. His multinational corporation, Alltech, has recently applied for planning permission to convert the building for use as a new distillery.

With so much alcohol production already taking place in the James Street area, and throughout history, that side of things will surely not be a problem. It may be just a case of making sure that the building itself is physically suitable for such a use.

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Alltech is primarily a global animal health and nutrition company, but it also produces several beers, and a US spirit, Town Branch Bourbon. The stills which had been used previously for that bourbon, were, in 2012, taken over to O’Hara’s/The Carlow Brewing Company (which AllTech had acquired), in an attempt to distil whiskey in Ireland, making it the company’s first genuine Irish whiskey, a dream of the founder, Dr. Pearse Lyons.

Whilst beer production looks set to continue in Carlow, the plan is to move those stills up to Dublin, and distil the whiskey in the old church on James’ Street, provided planning permission is granted. The church was built to a gothic style in 1860, and has been used commercially for many years.

The whiskey which is being developed, and is planned for production on James St, has not even been named yet. AllTech are currently canvassing for potential suitable brand names.

Under the current economic climate, the AllTech founder’s story particularly resonates. Lyons gained a biochemistry degree from University College Dublin (UCD), then worked for Harp, and later, Irish Distillers. He then emigrated first to the UK, where he went to the British School of Malting and Brewing in Birmingham to undertake a doctorate in brewing, and later he set sail for the States.

Ending up in Kentucky, he set-up Alltech from his garage in 1980 with an initial investment of just $10,000. Today it is a large global corporation, which expects to reach $1 billion worth of sales anually in 2013, with an annual revenue of $1bn in China alone by 2015. He really has done well for himself, and thankfully, he has chosen to invest some of that wealth back into Ireland. If word comes though about planning, we will let y’all know!

Many thanks to Liquid Irish for first highlighting this story.

2 Responses

  1. Sharon says:

    I think it’s a great idea to have a distillery in an old church especially on jamses street the street has a lot of potential it could be a great tourist catchment with Guinness brewery the royal hospital Kilmainham jail Jameson distillery and lots more tourist attractions within walking distance,jamses street needs a man like Pearce lyons to kick start the street good luck with the planning hope you get it.

  2. Sounds like a great idea for sure! Fair play to anyone who brings employment or services into Dublin 8! This article is also worth checking out:
    It seem that the DCC are thinking in a similar fashion to yourself Sharon. They are attempting to do exactly what you are saying via the new Dubline initiative, which is to include Thomas/James’s Street. Theres even some grants available for anybody who has any tourist-related businesses along the planned route. It would be fantastic if we could get more out of having so many tourist attractions in the area!

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