FRANKFORT, Ky (WYMT) - UPDATE 10/13/14
Bringing jobs and boosting tourism. That's the hope of Alltech's president and founder. For the first time, Dr. Pearse Lyons, spoke to folks in Pikeville. Months ago, the company announced several projects including a distillery.
Dozens filled the Jenny Wiley Theater in Pikeville to learn about an important piece to their community's future
City Manager Donovan Blackburn says, "A lot of people have heard about Alltech, they've heard about the planning, they've heard the direction Alltech is going....but they've never had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Lyons, who is the visionary behind the Alltech name."
Lyons says, "It is a message of hope, it is a message of passion, it is a message of getting things done."
At the luncheon, Lyons discussed why he and his company chose Pikeville.
"They have a can do attitude and I love it," says Lyons. He adds, "The other thing I've noticed about Eastern Kentucky and Pikeville is there is an incredible allegiance."
Even though not from Pikeville, he says they now share that allegiance and want the region to succeed. So, their first step in doing that is doing something Lyons says they do best and know will be successful.
Bringing a brewery and distillery to the far eastern part of the state, as part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
Playing on the area's history, the 'Dueling Barrels' brewery and distillery will offer a line of moonshine along with beer and bourbon.
"People are the going to stop and think, Wow! We didn't think Downtown Pikeville had something like this," says Lyons.
Alltech officials say the new brewery and distillery marks just the start of their investment in Eastern Kentucky.
"Here you've got a foreigner, here is a guy with a funny accent coming in here, here is a guy who loves Kentucky, a guy who has only been to Pikeville once or twice in his life, and yet is an entrepreneur and looks around and says...we have a real opportunity here," says Lyons.
While officials say completing the 'Dueling Barrels' is the main focus right now, there are other projects in the works like the previously announced aquaculture and poultry layer facility.
Officials hope the distillery will be complete by next fall. They will train folks to work at the new facility through the Alltech Brewing and Distilling Academy in Lexington.
An exact number of jobs is not known at this time.
The Marion Branch Industrial Site in Pikeville is about ten years in the making.
Just three months ago the 380-acre former service mine site was released from the division of mining.
Last week, we learned the first occupant of the site will be the global animal nutrition company, Alltech.
Now, city leaders say they are officially into the design phase at the site and excited to get construction underway.
A major part of the project is creating a new industrial access road into the site as well as a bridge to create direct access to U.S. 23 ... funded through millions from the state's transportation cabinet.
City Manager Donovan Blackburn says, "The project is coming straight from the state discretionary fund. The Governor and Secretary Hancock were gracious enough to understand the importance of this for Eastern Kentucky and what it means for job creation. The city will oversee this project instead of Department of Transportation, simply because most of the property is within the city."
Blackburn says following recent meetings, contracts for this phase have been executed and those funds are now available, with hopes of construction of the new road to start in early October. He says construction of the road will take a few months, while bridge construction will take between 14 and 18 months.
Officials are also working on other components for the site like water and sewer, power, and cell service.
"You have got to engineer it right the first time because the site is raw and you want to design it in a way that it makes it flow nice to recruit other businesses."
The completion of this phase is key as Alltech officials say the road and bridge must be finished before they can begin construction of the egg production and aquaculture facilities. In the meantime, they are working on the design and engineering of each project.
Alltech officials say they plan to start demolition and construction of their other Pikeville project, Dueling Barrels brewery and distillery, this October and hope to have it open by the end of next summer.
Since the Shaping Our Appalachian Region summit late last year, leaders have been focused on bringing new jobs and industries to a region that desperately needs them.
State and local leaders came together with Alltech co-founder, Deirdre Lyons, naming Alltech as the first occupant of Pikeville's new Marion Branch industrial site. The global animal nutrition company plans to create an aquaculture and poultry layer facility.
Officials say the investment will bring a new industry to the heart of coal country in desperate need of jobs
Congressman Hal Rogers says, "This is an exciting chance for Eastern Kentucky to show off that we can host all kinds of complicated and complex operations."
The announcement comes on the heels of Alltech purchasing property in Downtown Pikeville for the 'Dueling Barrels' brewery and distillery. Now, the company's investment in Eastern Kentucky totaling about 25 million dollars.
"Eastern Kentucky has always reminded us of Ireland, its people are its greatest exports," says Mrs. Lyons. She explains, "Eastern Kentucky exports a lot of people and if we can create jobs to keep people at home with their family's, that is what we are going to try and do."
Also announced, millions from the transportation cabinet to create industrial access roads and a bridge...linking the site to US 23.
Representative Leslie Combs says, "It is a great example of what Eastern Kentucky can do and what we will do...let's get to work."
The exact number of jobs that Alltech will bring to the region is not known at this time. Mrs. Lyons says the layer facility will start out with about 15 employees. However, do not expect that to last long as she says, "Alltech never gets smaller it only gets bigger."
Governor Steve Beshear and U.S. Representative Hal Rogers announced the first occupant of a Pike County industrial park on Monday.
Global animal nutrition company Alltech plans to bring an aquaculture and poultry layer facility to the 380-acre former surface mine owned by the city of Pikeville.
WYMT's Hillary Thornton will be live from Frankfort with more details during the news.
Please see the attached release.