Hye, Texas – Garrison Brothers Distillery the first and only pure bourbon whiskey distillery in Texas, is pleased to announce the pre-release of 1,000 bottles of the finest bourbon whiskey ever made! This unique bourbon is composed of small batch bourbon from a few superior barrels that were personally selected by the proprietor from the distillery’s growing inventory of aging barrels. Each bottle will be hand-filled, numbered and signed by the distiller.
Dan Garrison founded Garrison Brothers, the only distillery in America outside of Kentucky and Tennessee dedicated to producing bourbon and only bourbon, atop his Texas Hill Country ranch in 2006. Garrison learned the art of bourbon making from the masters, traveling back and forth from Texas to Kentucky throughout 2006 and into 2007.
Garrison spent most of the rest of 2007 building his distillery, which functions today as not only a working cattle ranch and country tool shed, but also a gourmet kitchen, bourbon lab, and barrel farm. With the distillery built, the testing began. After five challenging months of experimentation, Garrison nailed the recipe in May 2008, making Garrison Brothers the first legal whiskey maker in Texas history. Since then, he and his team of bourbon makers have produced hundreds of barrels, which are quietly aging in their hill country barns.
“We make and barrel every batch by hand, the old-fashioned way,” he says. Unlike Kentucky and Tennessee bourbon distilleries, which make bourbon from “sour mash,” Garrison makes a “sweet mash” using locally grown grain that is ground fresh daily and never reused. The 100% organic corn is harvested from Texas farms in the Panhandle near Hereford, Dalhart and Muleshoe. “Our corn comes from family farms,” says Garrison. “Texas farms grow exceptionally fine corn.” The 2008 vintage of Garrison Brothers was made with #1 organic yellow dent corn from farms in Dallam County, as well as soft red winter wheat and two-row malted barley.
The mash is cold-distilled to lock in the flavor of the corn as it drips from the company’s antique, copper still. Garrison and his staff operate the still in shifts, 24 hours-a-day, six days-a-week. A little ultra-pure rainwater, harvested and filtered from the rooftops of the distillery, is added to the distillate before it goes into custom-made barrels built from slow-growth Northern American Oak harvested from sustainable forests. Once barreled, the bourbon ages, soaking up the vanilla, nutmeg, caramel and butterscotch characteristics that charred oak barrels bleed into good bourbon.
According to Garrison, “Making bourbon whiskey well takes time, money and patience, which is why so many new blended whiskeys, vodkas, rums and tequilas are on the market today. Bourbon, on the other hand, is a commitment that most are unwilling to make.” For this reason, a handmade bourbon like Garrison Brothers may be more costly at liquor stores than the mass produced brands. “Damn right it will be expensive,” says Garrison, “but you get what you pay for.”
Demand for Garrison Brothers’ bourbon is already strong. The distillery hosts visitors regularly: more than 3,000 since it began offering pre-scheduled tours in 2009. Requests for bottles and barrels stream in from bourbon connoisseurs, sommeliers, bars, hotels and restaurants located from as far away as Australia, Japan, Beverly Hills, Chicago, New York and even Kentucky. Despite the interest beyond Texas, Garrison will sell his bourbon locally first. “We produced just 125 barrels in 2008. A few of these barrels have matured beautifully and more quickly than the rest,” he says. “So before we start selling bourbon elsewhere, we’re going to tap these early bloomers and share them with our friends and neighbors in the Hill Country.” The pre-release bourbon whiskey will be bottled at 100 proof. “This one’s a little stronger than the popular brands and there’s good reason for that,” said Garrison. “We’re going to prove to the whiskey world that a high-test bourbon can still be smooth as a baby’s bottom.”
Five hundred bottles from this first bottling run have been reserved for Texans who have been friends and supporters of the business over the past half-decade. “These first bottles are for the Blanco and Gillespie County electricians, plumbers, masons and construction workers who have helped us build the distillery,” said Garrison. “They deserve the first taste. We’ll give these away as gifts.” A few dozen are also being given to Garrison’s key mentors and friends in Kentucky.
The 1,000 bottles that aren’t given away will be distributed to local liquor stores in Blanco and Gillespie Counties. Garrison hopes to have the bottles in stores by Texas Independence Day (Tuesday, March 2). “If folks want a bottle, they should contact liquor stores quickly,” says Garrison. “I hear many of the stores out here have already started waiting lists. I hope folks will buy two bottles; one to hold onto and one to enjoy,” he says. “Those bottles they hold onto might be pretty valuable some day.”
About Garrison Brothers Distillery: Garrison Brothers Distillery is a small distilled spirits plant located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. We manufacture Garrison Brothers Texas Bourbon™ Whiskey from our kitchen, still-house and barrel barns in Hye, Texas. Garrison Brotherswas the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas history, and outside of Kentucky and Tennessee, the only distillery in America that is successfully producing authentic bourbon whiskey and only bourbon whiskey. The business was founded in 2006. We received our Federal distilled spirits plant permit on October 17, 2007 and our state permit in December 2007. The business is owned by the Garrison family. We are proud and active members of the communities of Fredericksburg, Hye, Johnson City and Stonewall. Our distillery and barrel barns are open to the public, upon request, for private tours and special events.