The Beer of Bourbon Country Arrives in Michigan

Bottling the flavors of Kentucky


-  A  D  V  E  R  T  I  S  E  M  E  N  T  -

Master Brewer Ken Lee looks into the lauter tun at Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.


Located in the heart of bourbon country, Lexington, Ky., is known for the things it does well: horse racing, basketball, and bourbon. Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, a new export from the central Kentucky town, will soon be hitting shelves in Michigan.    

The Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co.
is located in downtown Lexington, KY and is open
for tours and tastings every day of the week. 

Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. began in 1999 as a small brewery with a single local favorite, Kentucky Ale. After years of experimenting with what is considered a natural resource in Kentucky — bourbon barrels — Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale was released in 2006. The beer has a sweetness that’s derived from the time it spends maturing in the freshly decanted barrels, but it still carries a strong malt backbone for beer lovers. An instant hit, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale has a trophy case full of awards from the Great American Beer Festival, the World Beer Cup, and many more.  

Following the theme of aging beer in fresh bourbon barrels, Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. has released several more aged beers, including a coffee stout and a vanilla cream ale. The brewery even boasts a barrel-aged seasonal series, which highlights the flavors of the season but stays true to being 100 percent barrel-aged in fresh bourbon barrels. The barrels are used only once for beer, in order to provide the best flavor possible.  

The flagship beer of the Alltech Lexington
Brewing & Distilling Co. is Kentucky Bourbon
Barrel Ale.  Anywhere from five to seven
thousand barrels are kept on hand for aging
beer at one time. All of the beer is aged in this
Cooler, the size of two football fields.  

“With our proximity to the world’s best bourbon distilleries, we have the ability to choose the best barrels around for our beer,” says Ken Lee, master brewer. “We go through 5,000 to 7,000 barrels per week aging beer. It really is an amazing process to see.”

In 2012, the brewery began distilling, opening Town Branch Distillery and releasing Town Branch Bourbon as its flagship whiskey. Part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, this distillery is now a vital piece of tourism in Lexington. The beautiful glass building houses two copper-pot stills from Scotland, and produces small-batch bourbon and single malt and rye whiskeys.   

Opening the distillery has provided ample opportunity to experiment in the production of beer. 

“We’ve used our Town Branch Rye barrels for seasonal releases and are looking into other flavor profiles that oak barrels can bring to our lineup of beers,” says Pete Weiss, marketing manager. “This is a fun time in the craft beer world. There are so many opportunities to develop new flavors and use new ingredients in making beer.” 

Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder and president of Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co., has a long history in the brewing and distilling world. Hailing from five generations of coopers on his mother’s side and distillers on his father’s side, Dr. Lyons was the first Irishman to achieve a formal degree in brewing and distilling from the British School of Malting and Brewing. While at university, he interned at both the Guinness and Harp Lager breweries, and later worked as a biochemist for Irish Distillers. Dr. Lyons has brought his wealth of knowledge to Kentucky and is leading the charge in Lexington to make the best quality beer and whiskey around.  

Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and the family of barrel-aged beers will be available across Michigan through Imperial Beverage this fall.  


Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co., 401 Cross St., Lexington, KY 40508 – 859-225-8095 –


Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Molly's Picks: Atwater in the Park and Nick's 22nd Street Steak House

Restaurant veteran Molly Abraham noshes around town, tracking down some top spots

An Hour With... Steve Neavling

Aka the Motor City Muckraker

Could this Detroit Native be the Next Pope?

How the weight-lifting, piano-playing, former football player became part of the Roman Catholic hierarchy

Shared Plates: December 2017 Winner

Recipe: Pecan Crusted Buttermilk Chicken and Sweet Potato Pie Waffles

Kidney Ball 2017

On Dec. 2, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan held its annual Kidney Ball at MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit. Nearly 600 attendees enjoyed a Candy Bar from Mars Wrigley Confectionery, a performance from Your Generation in Concert, and more. Proceeds from the "Casablanca" themed event benefited the NKFM's programs and services, helping those with chronic kidney disease.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. This Bank-turned-restaurant is Another Reason to Love Clarkston's Dining Scene
    The Fed Community is serving up good food in a kid-friendly atmosphere
  2. The Sky’s the Limit
    Pilot opens second winery location in Irish Hills
  3. Review: Inside Detroit Vegan Soul’s New Westside Location
    It's one of several restaurant openings in Grandmont Rosedale this year
  4. Savor Detroit Fall 2017
    Hour Detroit's Savor Detroit, a five-night dinner series featuring ten top chefs, took place at...