Animal nutrition accounts for most of the fortunes amassed by Alltech tycoon Pearse Lyons, but it's his brewing division that has been grabbing the limelight of late. He worked at Harp Lager in Dundalk while studying biochemistry at UCD (he also has a Master's in brewing science), before using his scientific background to produce superior animal feeds. He has turned his attention to whiskey, having bought and restored a 19th-century church on Dublin's James's Street to house the Pearse Lyons Distillery. His wife Deirdre, Alltech's co-founder and director of corporate image and design, has been heavily involved in the distillery.
Alltech is head-quartered in Kentucky. Lyons started in 1980 from his garage with just $10,000 in seed capital. The shares are held by the family, which includes son Mark, who heads up Alltech's greater China operation. In January 2016, when Alltech acquired Masterfeeds, a leading animal nutrition company in Canada, Alltech said it had more than tripled its sales in the last three years and was on target to achieve $4bn in sales “in the next few years”.