Siebel Institute to reopen doors

Kentucky biotech firm buys historic brewing school

Feb 10, 2000 - Siebel Institute of Technology has been saved.


The Chicago brewing school will resume brewing classes next month. Siebel, the last of the founding brewing schools of the 1800s, closed its classroom doors in January.

Alltech Inc. of Nicholsville, Ky., has acquired Siebel and will assume control of the day-to-day operations. "The acquisition is a win-win situation," Bill Siebel said. In a letter addressed to friends of the institute, Siebel wrote he expected operations to resume much as before.

"We have some exciting news to share with you and that is that we have formed an alliance with Dr. Pearse Lyons," Siebel wrote in his letter. "We are particularly excited by this because as you may know, that company has for the last 20 years been heavily involved in the area of fermentation as it applies to distilled beverages and fuel alcohol. The company, like ours, is firmly based in brewing."

Siebel wrote that some changes will be announced in the coming weeks, "all of which will be for the better." He added, "We are very excited now as we move into this new millennium that we do so with even more vigor. We look forward to the Siebel Institute growing for the next 128 years."

Lyons said, "The Siebel Institute represents to us, the epitome in terms of educational prestige. The objective of this venture is to interweave our commitment to research with the world-renowned expertise in the science of brewing."

Alltech, founded in 1980, is a pioneer in the application of biotechnology to livestock and poultry production. The company utilizes biochemistry, fermentation technology, and scientific principles to develop, manufacture and support feed ingredients to improve animal health and performance.

Lyons, an Irish-born businessman, has a solid background in beer. He holds a brewing degree from a school in England and last fall the company bought Lexington Brewing Co.'s equipment and lease on its building on the west edge of downtown Lexington.

Alltech needed another lab in which to research diets that reduce waste from hogs and dairy cows. "I needed a research plant. As an ex-brewmaster, I figured why don't we combine a little business and pleasure," Lyons said at the time.

He also indicated an interest in producing beer at the site. He added that not everybody who knows how to make beer knows how to do it profitably.

"Microbreweries are for people who are in love with beer, but not necessarily in (love with) making money from beer," he said.

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