PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) — An animal nutrition company plans to begin operating a distillery and brewery in eastern Kentucky.
The Lexington Herald-Leader (http://bit.ly/1qPs6Oq) reports Alltech has agreed to purchase a former funeral home in downtown Pikeville that will serve as the location.
The company already operates a brewery and distillery central Kentucky and a distillery in Ireland, where Alltech founder Pearse Lyons is from.
Some leaders in economically depressed eastern Kentucky are looking to tourism to help reinvigorate the region, and they are using the success of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, as a model.
One major draw to that area is the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery.
Alltech has diverse interests, but recently has focused efforts in Ireland.
"When I think of Eastern Kentucky and I think of Pikeville, I think of Ireland and its history," Lyons said.
"The connections are phenomenal. ... From the bluegrass music that we call traditional music here to our history of whiskey, the connections run deep," Lyons said. "Therefore, for me to get involved in Pikeville and Eastern Kentucky, it is just natural. Our vision with this project is not only about job creation but making Eastern Kentucky more of a destination and economic hub."
The company said in a statement that more details would be forthcoming.
"This is the first aspect of a multipart investment Alltech plans to make in Eastern Kentucky. We look forward to announcing additional details on our Eastern Kentucky project next month," the statement said.
Jared Arnett, president and CEO of the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in Pikeville, said his group was "definitely excited about Alltech being involved."
Arnett said he showed Alltech officials several sites that could be used for multiple purposes.
"They have a wide range of investments and opportunities they are looking at in Eastern Kentucky. This is just one piece of the puzzle," Arnett said. "To have a company the size of Alltech looking at multiple things, from a distillery to agriculture, upwards of 10 projects, is great."
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com