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  • October 31, 2019 2:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We are please to present the November 2019 TDSA Newsletter. Inside you will read:

    • Legislative Update
    • November Election Information
    • Federal Update - CBMTRA & USMCA
    • Spirits United
    • HB 1997 Implementation
    • October 2019 Principal Member Meeting Recap
    • New Member Welcome
    • Winter Social & Prospective Member Reception


  • October 15, 2019 2:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON –  The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), America’s leading advocate for the distilled spirits industry, today announced that the Texas Distilled Spirits Association (TDSA) and the Texas Whiskey Association (TXWA) have joined Spirits United as partners to expand the grassroots network in the Lone Star State.

    The Spirits United platform features important information on key issues facing the spirits industry, hospitality professionals and consumers, and provides advocates with an easy-to-use website to weigh in on issues that matter to them. DISCUS launched the platform in August with founding partners American Distilling Institute and TIPS.

    “We are thrilled to have TDSA and TXWA join DISCUS, ADI and TIPS as Spirits United partners. Texas is a vital market for small and large distillers. Both organizations have a critical role in advocating for the distilled spirits industry in the Texas State Legislature, and they will be valued partners as we work together on market modernization opportunities for the industry in the state,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO, DISCUS and Responsibility.org.

    “The distilled spirits industry is a major contributor to the Texas economy.  We support more than 82,000 jobs and make a $7.5 billion impact on the state’s gross domestic product,” said Swonger. “We invite all Texas adults who are passionate about spirits to join Spirits United, including distillers, supply chain partners, bartenders, mixologists and consumers. We need everyone’s participation to pursue a competitive and free market to benefit consumers and businesses in Texas.”

    “Spirits United is an exciting new way to mobilize advocates for the distilled spirits industry in Texas, and we look forward to partnering with our industry colleagues on this innovative initiative,” said TDSA President Mike Cameron. “Expanding this grassroots network in Texas will help our distillers grow and bring adult consumers more convenient access to their favorite distilled spirits products, many of which are made proudly right here in the Lone Star State.”

    “In Texas, we have a great amount of pride for the whiskey we produce,” said TXWA Executive Director Spencer Whelan. “We are excited to join Spirits United to harness that pride and turn it into action on issues like the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act and market modernization in our state. Texans are brought up with a spirit for freedom, and we are the best and most passionate advocates for this industry.

    Spirits United Continues to Mobilize Support for Craft Beverage Bill

    Spirits United  already has begun mobilizing advocates in support of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (H.R. 1175/ S. 362), legislation making permanent the federal excise tax cut on distilled spirits that was enacted in 2017.  Without congressional approval, the tax cut will expire on December 31, 2019.  Using the Spirits United platform, advocates are actively sending letters to their members of Congress urging passage of the legislation.

    “We urge Congress to act as soon as possible on the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act to ensure that distillers in Texas and across the nation can continue to invest in their businesses, hire more employees and boost tourism and economic development,” said Swonger. “Through Spirits United, we are working to get as many letters, social media interactions and phone calls to Congress as possible in support of this bill.”

    Commitment to Responsibility

    A strong commitment to responsibility is the foundation of Spirits United. Through Spirits United’s social media content and information on its site, spirits advocates will be encouraged to join industry efforts to prevent underage drinking and drunk driving and to promote the responsible consumption of beverage alcohol.

    -30-

    Join Spirits United

    Spirits United is an inclusive community for anyone and everyone over the age of 21. To join Spirits United, please click here. Spirits United is also on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.  Watch “I am Spirits United” here.

    About the Texas Distilled Spirits Association

    The mission of TDSA is to grow the market for Texas spirits through education, marketing and regulatory influence.

    About the Texas Whiskey Association

    The Texas Whiskey Association is established by a group of whiskey makers with the common goal to promote Texas Whiskey, educate consumers and support distilleries that produce whiskey all within the territorial boundaries of the State of Texas.

     

    Contact

    DISCUS Public Affairs

    (202) 682-8840

    Ainsley Holyfield

    (240) 232‑8108

    ainsley.holyfield@distilledspirits.org

    Stefanie Scott

    (512) 784-8833

    stefanie@stefscottpr.com


  • October 15, 2019 8:59 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today, we are thrilled to announce our partnership with Spirits United Texas, along with the Texas Whiskey Association.

    As you know, craft distillers in Texas play a unique and powerful role in the distilled spirits industry by creating diversity, excitement, and increasing the spirits consumer base. Craft distillers attract visitors with their specialized spirits and create jobs, thereby increasing tourism and enhancing the economy in their local communities. The distilled spirits industry would not be as strong and vibrant as it is today without Texas craft distillers like you.

    However, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. and at the Texas Legislature in Austin, laws are enacted and kept in place that can have an impact on your business, like bans on Sunday Sales and punitive federal excise taxes. 

    Here’s the good news: you have the power to change these laws. You can educate our lawmakers on how these laws harm us and the best policies to ensure you can succeed – and now you have the tool to do so! TDSA is proud partner with Spirits United Texas, with special thanks to Responsibility.org.

    Spirits United Texas is a community of advocates united to harness the great pride and political equity within the industry to ensure adult consumers can enjoy distilled spirits where they want, how they want, and when they want. At Spirits United, you will be able to send PRE-DRAFTED letters and tweets, as well as make phone calls, to your elected officials on the various issues that impact your business. It’s simple and takes less than five minutes to do.

    Craft distillers are a critically important and powerful part of that community. Your strong, collective voice should be heard by elected officials to ensure your business is well represented at all levels of government!

    Join Spirits United TODAY by visiting SpiritsUnitedTexas.org.


  • September 16, 2019 9:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    BENDT Distilling Co Launches BENDT No. 5 American Blended Whiskey

    Launch Party Includes Craft Cocktails, BBQ and Live Music

     

    What: BENDT Distilling Co. will host a launch party on September 21st for the introduction of BENDT No. 5 American Blended Whiskey – the first-ever blend of five distinct small batch Texas whiskeys (Bourbon, Rye, Malt, Wheat, Light) distilled, aged individually and blended together under one roof in Lewisville, Texas

     

    The family-friendly event is free to the public and will include the following:

    ·       BENDT No. 5 craft cocktail menu, samples and snow cones

    ·       Custom hand-etched bottle engraving by Air Style Art

    ·       Live music from Hightower Band and Denver Williams Band

    ·       BBQ by Chasin Tail BBQ

    ·       Behind-the-scenes whiskey production tours (21+)

    ·       Photobooth by Smile for the Camper + Texas Photobooth Company

     

    Who: Co-Founders Ryan and Natasha DeHart will raise a glass to celebrate the launch of new BENDT No. 5 – a smooth, perfectly balanced blended whiskey that captures the essence of each whiskeys finest characteristics

     

    Why: BENDT No. 5 is perfect for diverse whiskey drinkers seeking a smooth, flavorful and balanced blend of hand-crafted whiskeys. As one of the few female distillery founders and whiskey blenders in the U.S., Natasha DeHart is elevating the category of blended whiskey beyond neutral or artificially flavored whiskey-based spirits. BENDT No. 5 American Blended Whiskey is all grain, all whiskey

     

    When:              Saturday, September 21, 2019

                                1:00PM – 9:00PM 

     

    Where:               BENDT Distilling Co (formerly Witherspoon Distillery)

                                225 S. Charles Street

                                Lewisville, TX 75057

    Instagram:         @bendtno5

     

    Contact:             David Abrams, StuntmanPR

                                 david@stuntmanpr.com, 201-993-8426 (mobile)


  • August 27, 2019 11:21 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As you may be aware, one of the most important pieces of federal legislation for our industry is currently being proposed in DC.  The Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (HR 117/S.362) will make permanent a federal excise tax of $2.70 per proof gallon.  If this legislation is not passed, the federal excise tax will increase 400% to $13.50 per proof gallon.  Members of Congress return to Washington DC on September 1st.  Now is the perfect time for you to send a letter to your member of Congress and US Senators explaining the importance of passing the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. 


    Click here for a sample letter
     
    for you to use when contacting your member of Congress.  We also ask you to send letters to both US Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.  Here is a list of addresses for the Texas federal delegation You may use this website to help you find your member of Congress:  https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative.


    TDSA also sent a separate letter to each member of Congress and US Senator urging the importance of this legislation.  If you have any questions or concerns on how to contact your federal representative, please call Amber at 512-617-4523 or email her at
    ahausenfluck@mwcllc.com.

  • July 15, 2019 10:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    INDUSTRY NOTICE

    July 15, 2019

    Excise Tax Enforcement – Summary Suspension of License/Permit

    To: Holders of a manufacturer’s license, brewer’s permit, winery permit, distillers and rectifier’s permit, distributor’s license, wholesaler's permit, general class B wholesaler's permit, or brewpub license.

    On September 1, 2019, TABC will begin actively enforcing existing laws that suspend a licensed/permitted business’s ability to operate while that business is delinquent on its excise tax payments or reports. This action is necessary to address a growing number of excise tax delinquencies and to ensure future compliance.


    The Law

    Certain license/permit holders in the manufacturing and distributing tiers of the alcoholic beverage industry are statutorily required to make monthly excise tax payments on the “first sale” of certain alcoholic beverages (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, Chapters 201 and 203). These licensees/permittees must also submit monthly excise tax reports to TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code §§ 201.06, 201.48, and 203.10).


    Summary Suspension Process

    TABC will initiate a process to summarily suspend a license/permit if the holder is delinquent oh excise tax payments and/or has unfiled excise tax reports, or defaults on an executed agreement to repay delinquent taxes (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, §§ 201.075, 201.53, and 203.13). If a licensee/permittee remains delinquent or in default after initial notifications from TABC:

    • TABC issues an Order of Summary Suspension to the licensee/permittee.
    • Licensee/permittee has 3 days to cure all deficiencies cited in the Order.
    • If the licensee/permittee has not cured all such deficiencies on the 3rd day after receiving the Order, TABC will suspend the license/permit without a hearing.
    • TABC will lift the suspension only when the licensee/permittee submits all reports and tax payments that are due.

    Follow These Steps to Keep Your Business in Compliance

    • Excise tax reports and taxes are due and payable on the 15th of the month.
    • Excise tax reports are due even if no taxes are due.
    • TABC grants a 2% discount on the taxes due if the report and payment are submitted before the 15th of the month.


    If you have any questions or need assistance, you may contact TABC in writing at P.O. Box 13127, Austin, TX 78711, Audit & Investigations at 512-206-3300, or by e-mail at excisetaxsummarysuspension@tabc.texas.gov.

  • June 21, 2019 3:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Fort Worth Business Press

    BLK EYE will have the official bottle release party for its BLK EYE Spirit Number 5 on Saturday June 22 from 2pm till 9pm. Bottle Sales, Limit two per person. $45.00 per bottle. Get Free Tickets - reserve your Saturday spot on our Facebook Event Page. If there is a line, all ticketed fans will be given priority entrance at the distillery.

    Since his new specialty distilled beverage was first barreled in 2017, Todd Gregory has been looking forward to the day it would make its debut.

    That would be Saturday June 22 when BLK EYE Distilling Co. scheduled a release party to celebrating the launch of BLK EYE Spirit Number 5, made with black-eyed peas and corn.

    Because black-eyed peas are not a grain, the new product can’t be called whiskey, explained Gregory, co-owner of BlackEyed Distilling Co., which produces award-winning BLK EYE Vodka and a whiskey in a converted historic firehouse in Fort Worth’s Near Southside.

    “But it looks like whiskey, it smells like whiskey and it tastes like whiskey,” said Gregory. “In fact, we think it is one of the best things we have tasted in a long while.”

    Gregory has plenty to be proud of with this new unique new product that has been aging in heavy-charred American oak barrels for more than 24 months. The yield is 598 bottles of a spirit that is 46 percent alcohol and 92 proof.

    But Gregory was hoping that he would have more to toast at the party than his new spirit.

    He had hoped that the Texas Legislature would have given and other craft distillers in the state a break from archaic liquor laws that are making it hard for them to grow their businesses.

    Of the 100-plus alcohol bills that were introduced this past legislative session, only one priority bill of craft distillers made it into law.

    That legislation, known as “sampling of product,” was co-sponsored by GOP state Sen. Kelly Hancock of North Richland Hills and GOP state Rep. Charlie Geren of Fort Worth. It allows a distiller to directly offer product samples to a retailer, restaurant or hotel without the presence of a wholesaler.

    The top priority bills for craft brewers though died without a vote.

    The “bottle bill” would have been a huge boon to the craft distilling industry by raising the limit on the number of bottles distillers could sell from their distilleries.

    The current law restricts distillers to selling two bottles per person a month from distilleries, up to a limit of 3,500 gallons per year.

    The Texas Distilled Spirits Association, a trade group of craft distillers, has pushed unsuccessfully since the 2015 legislative session to allow distillers to sell two bottles of each product – instead of two bottles in total – that they manufacture within a month.

    “We have never asked to raise the 3,500-gallon limit,” said Mike Cameron, president of the distiller spirits association. “Most of our distilleries don’t get close to reaching that limit and this would give them the opportunity to do that.”

    Some of the smallest among the 140 permitted distilleries and approximately 100 active operators don’t have tasting rooms to introduce their products to the public, Cameron said. In those cases, customers who stop by those distilleries have to buy without tasting.

    Further crippling small operators, wholesalers select a limited number of products such as key lime rum from producers for display on liquor store shelves, he said.

    “They have no way to market their products,” Cameron said. “We suspect that a lot of them will be out of business by the time of the next (legislative) session in 2021.”

    The other top priority bill that failed would have allowed distillers to sell their products at festivals and events similar to the rights given to wineries.

    That would have been another marketing opportunity for struggling operators.

    Craft beer brewers, who faced similar struggles without ability to sell beer to-go from their breweries, finally prevailed after multiple repeated attempts to lift the ban on to-go sales. Beer to-go from breweries will become legal in Texas on Sept. 1

    Craft distillers faced opposition from two powerful lobby groups, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Texas, representing distributors, and the Texas Package Store Association.

    The retailers group has strongly opposed a legislation that would impact the three-tier system, which is the foundation of Texas alcoholic beverage laws.

    In a statement regarding direct sales to consumers, the package store group said direct sales pose a safety risk to consumers.

    “The direct consumer sales make the consumer vulnerable to potentially unsafe or tainted alcohol,” the group said. “The single stream system used in markets such as Europe, India and Mexico have no checks and balances to ensure the products are safe to consumer and that tainted alcohol can be tracked back to the source.”

    The group also said that the three-tier system provides “checks and balances in the way that alcohol is distributed and sold.”

    Craft distilling has come a long way in Texas during the past five years and now ranks as the third largest in the country behind California and Florida, according to the craft distilled spirits organization, which is undertaking an economic impact study to determine its value and worth to the Texas economy.

    For Gregory, who is adding his fifth product to his lineup, the failure of the festivals and bottle bills “stifles my ability to grow and market my products.”

    With the rapid growth of the craft distilling industry in Texas, producers are challenged more than ever to find adequate liquor store shelf space to build their brands, Gregory said.

    And, that is ironic.

    “If any manufacturing industry came to our state and offered to build in excess of 100 factories, the economic support would be overwhelming from all state and local leaders,” Gregory said.

    “Guess what, we are already here, but struggling with laws created in 1933 that did not forecast the craft distillery movement and anticipate supporting the local manufacture of alcohol in Texas,” he added.

  • June 14, 2019 9:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    STUDIO 512

    It’s Woman Crush Wednesday and we were so happy to have our woman crush in-studio with us! Samantha Olvera is the first woman to distill bourbon from grain to glass in Texas, and she came over from Hye to talk to us about how she got started in this majority-male business.

    Samantha is currently Nighttime Distiller at Garrison Brothers Distillery, the first corn-to-cork bourbon distillery in America opened outside of Kentucky, and the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas.
    She recently spearheaded a successful effort to bring a branch of the Bourbon Women Association to Texas. Learn more about that organization at www.bourbonwomen.org.

    Samantha is obviously partial to bourbon — but it’s especially easy to celebrate on National Bourbon Day, which is June 14th!

    To learn more about where Samantha works, Garrison Brothers Distillery, check them out in person in Hye in the Hill Country. For more information about their whiskey, go to www.garrisonbros.com, or follow them on social media, @GarrisonBros.

    Watch Studio 512  Monday through Friday on The CW Austin at 7 a.m.- 9 a.m. (Channel 54.1) & 11 a.m. on KXAN Austin.


  • May 29, 2019 10:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Austin 360

    In a distillery space on the Hill Country outskirts of Austin, Revolution Spirits has become known for making unusual spirits and liqueurs to accompany its flagship gin. But the latest product might be the wildest one yet — in more ways than one.

    Releasing as a limited offering on Thursday is Revolution’s Spirit de Spon, a clear liquor drawing its primary flavor from spontaneously fermented beer produced at the neighboring Jester King Brewery. As such, the experimental spirit might not be like anything you’ve had before.

    The idea for Spirit de Spon came from the exact place where the beers that inspired Jester King’s Jeff Stuffings are made: in Belgium. Most specifically, the Revolution team, which includes co-founder Aaron Day and distillers Forrest Allen, Brian Meola and John Henry, had noticed the efforts of respected Belgian brewery Drie Fonteinen to create a spirit from spontaneously fermented beer, made in the traditional Belgian gueuze method, after it had gotten ruined from a thermostat malfunction.

    Though those 100,000 bottles of beer were no longer able to be sold, the beer could be distilled into something new. So Drie Fonteinen’s brewer, Armand Develder, took distillation classes after the 2010 incident in the hopes of saving his product.

    The result was “Armand’Spirit, a completely unique eau de vie made from spontaneously fermented wort,” according to Revolution Spirits’ Facebook post announcing the arrival of Spirit de Spon. “Ever since the release of Spon, we have wanted to do something similar and see how the complex flavors of the beer would come through after distillation.”

    Spon debuted at Jester King in late 2016. Founder Stuffings believes in making beers with a sense of place, featuring ingredients such as Texas-grown and -malted barley, well water from the Trinity Aquifer, hops that have been aged on-site and — particularly key to the spontaneous fermentation process — yeast and bacteria from the surrounding Hill Country. The resulting wild ales define Jester King’s beer program.

    Spontaneous fermentation involves allowing the wort (the hop and barley mixture) to inoculate naturally with airborne microorganisms, then having it ferment over time in barrels. (Most craft brewers make their wares by quicker fermentation in stainless steel tanks.) Jester King’s Spon series is a true American-born example of Belgian gueuze because each beer in the series is a multi-year blend of these spontaneously fermented ales.

    Since 2016, Jester King has released a number of Spon brews. The brewery down the road from Revolution Spirits has collaborated with the distillery on past projects, and for this one, it provided wort that went through spontaneous fermentation at Revolution’s stillhouse. It was then distilled twice. Distillation can profoundly change the original liquid, but that’s not what happened with Spirit de Spon.

    “We were very happy to find that much of the earthy, complex flavors and aromas that are indicative of the farmhouse beers of Jester King were retained in the final product. It truly captures the characteristics that define the beer and the spontaneous fermentation process in general,” according to the Revolution Spirits Facebook post.

    If that sounds like something you want to try, head to Revolution Spirits, at 12345 Pauls Valley Rd., Bldg. G., starting at 3 p.m. on Thursday to pick up a bottle. Bottles are super limited, and sales will be limited to one per customer.

  • May 24, 2019 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Eater Austin

    With an increasing majority of chefs professing dedication to local ingredients, it’s no longer unusual to know exactly which farmer grew those greens and raised that chicken you’re about to eat. But what about the cocktail in that glass? Beyond fresh-squeezed juice and herbs grown on-site, Austin bartenders now have a wide range of options when it comes to local spirits, as more local craft distillers are interpreting the farm-to-table movement in liquid form.

    The concept isn’t exactly new to town. After falling in love with limoncello during a trip to Italy, Paula Angerstein became the first woman licensed to distill spirits in Texas. Paula’s Texas Spirits was born in 2005. She uses as much Texas-grown fruit as possible to flavor the liqueurs, which also include orange and grapefruit bottles, the latter of which is made with 100 percent ruby red grapefruits grown in the Rio Grande Valley.

    After Paula’s opened, Treaty Oak Distilling became the fourth distillery to receive a Texas permit in 2006 — and the first to produce a “grain-to-bottle” spirit. It’s best seen and tasted with its flagship rum, made using Texas molasses sourced from the last operating sugar mill in the Rio Grande Valley, called Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers Inc. It also sources heirloom grains from Barton Springs Mill and has been experimenting with different varieties of corn for special bourbon and single-malt releases.

    In 2011, Treaty Oak released the first gin crafted in Texas: the Waterloo No. 9, using juniper, coriander, anise, and ginger, among other ingredients, as well as indigenous central Texas ingredients such as lavender, grapefruit, and pecans. Last year, the distillery released an Old Tom-style gin made using Austin-foraged yaupon shrub and honey from Wimberley, Texas.

    “Procuring local ingredients gives the product a sense of place and time and contributes to the story,” says Philip Dormont, Treaty’s director of product development. “Knowing we are contributing to the success of Texas agriculture — the jobs being retained and created, the relationships we’ve established — is exciting to say the least.

    “And of course there is sustainability,” Dormont continues. “The closer the supplier, the smaller the environmental impact.”

    Distillers, much like chefs, have to deal with changing climates affecting crops and produce availability, and must often go to great lengths to source high-quality seasonal fruit, especially in the face of unpredictable Texas weather, in order to produce consistent products.

    Over half of the citrus used in Angerstein’s orange and lemon spirits is local, and the rest is sourced from the Southern hemisphere when Texas-grown fruit is not readily available.

    Treaty Oak purchases high volumes of grapefruit from the valley when the fruit is in season from US Citrus, zests it all, and freezes it to ensure year-long quality in its gin. The makrut lime used in the yaupon gin is also quite hard to obtain; so far, Dormont has found only one source — US Citrus — and the distillery must plan its production schedule around its availability.

    When Brian Meola, John Henry, and Forrest Allen launched Revolution Spirits in 2014, they set out with the determination to source as much locally as possible for their craft gin, amaro, and liqueurs.

    “We found out quickly that you have to help build that infrastructure,” said Allen, who holds a multifaceted role as co-distiller, sales representative, tasting room guide, and stakeholder.

    Revolution continues to have problems finding local farms that can commit to growing the amounts of lavender, rosemary and lemongrass needed to flavor its flagship Austin Reserve Gin. Texas grapefruit also plays a huge role in the same spirit, and to date, they have sourced from at least 10 different producers, depending on which has the right size and quality of fruit.

    Still Austin co-owner Andrew Braunberg and the rest of his team at Still Austin Whiskey Co. faced challenges when they launched its grain-to-glass whiskey last year. Along with similar problems faced by Revolution, Still initially had trouble even getting farmers to grow the exact type of grains they needed.

    “The trouble with Texas wheat is that 95 percent of the wheat grown here now is a hard wheat [used for bread] and distillers like soft wheat,” said Braunberg. “We’ve got to get a more diverse set of varieties of soft winter wheat.”

    Still has been working with local grain guru James Brown at Barton Springs Mill and craft malthouse TexMalt to encourage Texas farmers to produce high quality, non-GMO barley, wheat, rye, and corn for its new-make white whiskeys, rye gin, bourbons, and rye whiskeys.

    “The trouble is that most of the grains in Texas are just commodity crops,” explained Braunberg. “There’s no reason for them to do anything different or more expensive because the price is pretty much set by whatever the world grain price is at the time you pull them off your field. There hasn’t been a strong local market for any Texas grains, really.”

    That is, until now.

    Of course, certain ingredients just aren’t feasible to grow in the relentless heat of Texas. Jessica Leigh Graves and her Violet Crown Spirits partners Matthew Mancuso and Chris McLaughlin discovered this while sourcing ingredients for its flagship product, the very first absinthe to be made in the state.

    There are 13 herbs and spices involved in Violet’s emerald absinthe, some of which were hard to source, since fennel, anis, and angelica aren’t grown in the state because they require colder weather.

    While artemisia species grow across the globe, Violet couldn’t find any American commercial outfits selling it in the country. To remedy that, Graves enlisted the help of some small local farmers she already knew. Josh DeCamp in Elgin now grows Artemisia pontica(aka Roman wormwood or petit wormwood), and Ellen Waller of Little Bluestem Farms in San Marcos grows Artemisia absinthium (aka grand wormwood). Graves even grew all the peppermint for its first batch in her own backyard. The jasmine for its second release, a fragrant liqueur, came from various Texas vines.

    Violet Crown Spirits’ Midnight Marigold bitter cordial Violet Crown Spirits [Official]

    Many Austin distillers have struck a balance by sourcing as much as they can locally before filling in the gaps with imports as needed, either due to flavor or logistics. Mike Groener attempted to use local cedar berries to craft Genius Gin, but found he needed to also work with Colorado-grown juniper berries to achieve the correct peppery notes.

    When perfecting its Austin Reserve Gin, the Revolution Spirits team searched high and low for a local pepper to use in its proprietary blend, but found that nothing fit the spirit’s flavor profile quite like pink peppercorns from Asia. They also discovered that Texas doesn’t have enough non-ash juniper, so they continue to import theirs from Italy.

    As a small production distillery, Revolution still utilizes plenty of local ingredients and products to craft its spirits and, in doing so, the team has forged collaborations with many other like-minded Austin artisans. There are Cuvee coffee beans in the Cafecito liqueur, Srsly chocolate in the Chocolate Cafecito, and steeped, green, unripe pecans from Yegua Creek Farms in its digestivo Noce Pecan.

    It is also constantly working on limited-release collaborations with other local producers: apple brandies with Argus Cidery and Texas Keeper Cider, apple eau de vie with Fairweather Cider Company, liqueurs made with spent fruit from Jester King Brewery, and the list goes on.

    Like many moonshiners before them, Desert Door’s Judson Kauffman, Brent Looby, and Ryan Campbell developed their spirit around what was already growing in abundance. Kauffman was introduced to the desert spoon plant native to southwestern Texas and northern Mexico as a teenager hunting in West Texas with his uncles long before Desert Door sotol was a twinkle in his eye.

    It was the history and versatility of the desert spoon plant that inspired the distillery. “We fell in love with the romance of it,” said Kauffman, “and the accessibility was a bonus.”

    Desert Door uses the Dasylirion texanum plant, aka the desert spoon plant, which is smaller than the usual Dasylirion wheeleri plant used by Mexican sotoleros. Each wild plant is hand-selected and harvested throughout West Texas, then the sotol hearts (or piñas) are removed, steamed, and fermented before the mash is distilled. The resulting spirit maintains the earthy, grassy notes typical of Chihuahuan sotol, but finishes with a sippable smoothness. And this Texas-born agave spirit is made from just three ingredients: sotol, water, and organic yeast.

    Perhaps we can expect to see more spirits made from locally foraged edibles. Treaty Oak has begun experimenting with a new project in which they will collaborate with chefs to create gins exclusively from foraged ingredients to showcase the central Texas terroir. However, foraging for botanicals comes with its own set of challenges.

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CONTACT US

816 Congress Avenue, Suite 940,
Austin, TX 78701

Amber Hausenfluck, Government Affairs: (512) 617-4523
Daniel Whitehead, Administration: (804) 775-1959 

info@texasdistilledspirits.org
www.texasdistilledspirits.org

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