Yeast has been the basis of animal pharma tycoon Pearse Lyons's fortune. The former Harp Lager intern (69) has built up his Kentucky-headquartered Alltech group into one of the world's biggest and most innovative animal healthcare companies. ?The Louth man started the company in 1985 from a garage with just $10,000 in seed capital. Now it's forecast to burst through the $2bn per year revenue mark. Business interests range from animal nutrition to research into fish oil and brewing.
Last year, Lyons told the Sunday Independent that Alltech was worth "between $2.5bn to $3bn". He owns all the shares. Alltech has blobbed up since then, spending $400m to buy rival Ridley last April. Lyons is a consummate dealmaker and a relentless worker.
He's been nicknamed 'Duracell Bunny' at Alltech HQ. Not that they'd see him, as he spends much of the year travelling to the 128 countries where Alltech has operations on his Challenger 604 private jet.
Lyons, who helped bring Muhammed Ali to Ireland in 2009 to look for his grandfather, is building a whiskey distillery in Dublin's Liberties.