There were very few craft whiskies when Amanda and I decided to make one in Texas. I still remember pulling the bottle out of a Texas flag felt bag only to turn it over and see “Product of Canada.” We were horrified this was what local whiskey was becoming know for. There had to be a better way to make great tasting whiskey than to buy it from somewhere else!
So, we set out traveling the world to better understand whiskey’s rich traditions, and to obtain all the materials we would need. We were eager to learn and fortunately a few distillers & winemakers were willing to share their knowledge with the couple trying to preserve their traditions. And after testing thousands of possible combinations, Amanda began making arrangements to bring home our copper stills, 2-row barley, bourbon barrels, and European wine casks.
Now the hard part sat in… Waking up everyday for 3 years to mill and cook barley without any help or no paycheck in site. The 100+ degree summers were brutal cooking over direct fire! When issues came up we’d email our colleagues in Europe or Japan using Google Translate, while sitting on the floor reading through volumes of distillation texts. We’d swell barrels with water and intentionally cause leaks so I could practice repairing them with the coopering techniques we were shown.
Amanda and I have been very fortunate to be fully self supporting. Doing everything by hand and learning from great producers has provided us the luxury of time. Many of our colleagues took on investors to help purchase their equipment and released un-aged products to help repay these debts. Others purchased neutral grain spirits or factory aged products to get to market while keeping those equipment and labor cost down (The hope being they can later produce their own spirits). Regardless of the path, It’s good to see craft spirits growing and quality products making their way to our shelves.
It’s been overwhelming having the opportunity to meet people as we sample them on our whiskey. Having that personal connection is important to me so I can bring it back to the distillery floor. I’m always working on ways to make a better product for y’all as we continue growing the traditions here in Texas. And I cannot wait to share the first bottling of French Sauternes whiskey this winter!
Amanda and I are extremely grateful for you ongoing support,
And happy early holidays!