Texas Bourbon News

Texas Born from Texas Corn

Building a Bourbon Boat




We’re not bullshitting you. We’re going to build a boat. Right here in Hye, Texas. And we need your help to do it. We need your used Garrison Brothers bourbon bottle corks.

We are putting our money where our mouth is too. We will pay a bounty of $5 for every Garrison Brothers bottle cork that is sent to us. And we’ll throw in an extra $5 bucks to cover your shipping costs.

Please send each and every Garrison Brothers bottle cork you have to:

Garrison Brothers Is Building A Boat
517 West 39th Street
Austin, Texas 78751

Please Include your name, your business name, your address, your email address and your phone number.

This offer applies to bartenders and bourbon drinkers only! It does not apply to current or former Garrison Brothers personnel. Only corks from the 2015 Vintage, Garrison Brothers Single Barrel and later vintages can be redeemed.

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Happy Father’s Day


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Unfiltered: Straight Bourbon and Peanut Butter


Garrison Brothers Bottle FillingIf you are a veteran bourbon drinker, you have probably seen the term “unfiltered” or “non-chill filtered” on a whiskey bottle. But what does that really mean?

When you buy a jar of organic, all natural, unfiltered peanut butter at the store, you fully expect a little oil to appear on the top of the peanut butter when you open the jar. You understand that peanuts contain oil. You understand that oils separate from solids. You understand that you just stir it up and you’re right back in business. When you buy a jar of commercially produced peanut butter, you will not see the oils (lipids/fatty acids) on the top of the peanut butter because the producer uses chemicals that dry out the oil. These chemicals also affect the taste and texture of the peanut butter.

StillLife3 copyBourbon is an agricultural product just like peanut butter but it is made from grain, water and wood. The same exact situation occurs with organic, all natural, unfiltered bourbon.

One of the beautiful aspects of whiskey, straight bourbon especially, is the color. Straight bourbon has a reddish crimson tint that glistens, shines and sparkles when held up to the light. The color comes from microscopic sugar crystals floating in the liquid, much of which are derived from the White American oak barrel that the bourbon has matured in. When the bourbon is freshly dumped from the barrel it does not have that crystalline glossiness. It’s a little bit murkier and cloudy with char and sediment from the bourbon barrel.

Bob Stickney Photography 011 copyTo make it shine, most commercial whiskey distilleries will cool the spirit down to below 50 degrees Fahrenheit by pushing the whiskey through a heat exchanger. When bourbon is colder than 50 degrees, the lipids, fatty acids and oils in the spirit, which come naturally from the grain and wood, begin to clump together.

The commercial distilleries then force the liquid through a plate filter. The plate filter has cloth or paper pads in it. The acids and oils attach to the paper pads and are left behind in the filter. This is how you make shiny whiskey.

You are more likely to see fatty acids and oils floating in bourbon than in scotch whiskey. Scotch makers remove the solids (the shells and grains) from the wash before they distill the alcohol. This is called sparging the wash. They use a lauter tun to do it. They only distill the liquid. Most of the fatty acids, lipids and oils are removed along with the solids. I only know of one bourbon maker in the United States who does this. I have tried their bourbon and did not much care for it. It lacked flavor.

Filtering BourbonSo for the bourbon connoisseur, it is a simple debate. Do you prefer bourbon that looks shiny but might have some of the flavor removed? Or do you want a full-flavored bourbon that might not be as shiny? Personally, I know my answer. I didn’t buy that bottle to hang it on the wall and show friends how shiny it is.

But there’s a downside to non-chill filtered bourbon whiskey. Recently, a retailer in Florida called me. “Your bourbon has been tainted,” he said. ”There’s something floating in it.” He was correct. His case of bourbon had been placed in an area of the warehouse with a serious draft. It was below 50 degrees. And what happens below 50 degrees? The fatty acids, oils and lipids clump together and it truly looks murky. I asked him to shake the bottle up. He did. And “ta da.”

If Garrison Brothers were to bottle all our bourbon at barrel proof – 135, 140 or 145 – that murkiness or clumping would not happen. But we like it at 94 proof, so we must add a little rainwater. That added water causes it to get murky when it is colder than 50 degrees.

If this ever happens to a bottle of Garrison Brothers that you’ve bought, please do not panic. Don’t go rushing off to the store to complain and please don’t send me the bottle; the feds won’t legally allow me to replace it or give you your money back. Instead, do this: Shake it!

(Shake it up baby now! Shake it up baby. Twist and shout. Twist and Shout. Come on, come on, come on, come on baby now. … Sorry, got distracted.)

As soon as you shake the bottle up, the cloudiness will disappear and that bottle of bourbon will taste and look delicious.

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Road Trip

Garrison Brothers Bourbon Excursion

This weekend, Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6, Garrison Brothers Distillery is taking over the legendary Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas for our first annual Bourbon Excursion. That’s right, we have pretty much blocked off every room in the hotel for the ultimate bourbon-fueled weekend. All the rooms at the hotel are already sold out.

If you’re a desert rat, prairie dog or chili cook, and don’t mind sleeping in a tent, there may still be a few tickets left for the concert and the dinner. Give The Gage a call to lock those down. (432) 386-4205

Friday night there will be a private concert at the Gage with Mark Powell and Lariat, from Abilene, Texas, which will begin outside the White Buffalo Bar at 7. Saturday night, Chef Brandon Waddell at the 12 Gage Restaurant will design, display and serve a special multi-course dinner pairing various exotic food courses with Garrison Brothers bourbon vintages and cocktails. The mouth-watering menu is below.

Given how quickly this event sold out, look for more invitations here soon for future Garrison Brothers Bourbon Excursions.

We look forward to spending a glorious weekend in West Texas with you. Salud!




Garrison Brothers Texas Bourbon Whiskey Dinner

Saturday, February 6, 2016
12 Gage Restaurant Patio


Confit Muscovy Duck Taquitos, Coloradito, Cilantro Crema, Cotija


Atlantic U-10 Sea Scallop, Farro, Yams, Cashews, Cherries, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pedro Jimenez Vinegar


Compart Farms 10-Bone Duroc Pork Loin, Coffee Rubbed and Smoked, Pickled Sour Apple, Acorn Squash, Caramelized Onion Jus

Au Revoir

Bourbon Buttermilk Pie Candied Pecans, Vanilla Bean Tuile

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Spring 2015 Newsletter

Garrison Brothers

Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges.

According to Chapter 6 of the ominous Federal Code of Regulations regarding alcohol, there are “prescribed standards of fill” to which all distilleries must adhere. The only approved bottle sizes for distilled spirits bottled in the United States are: 1.75 Liters, 1 Liter, 750 ml, 375 ml, 200 ml, 100 ml and 50 ml.

The TABC code is even stranger here in Texas, where if you go to a liquor store and buy a teeny little 50ml bottle, you are required by law to buy two. Apparently, decades ago some legislator decided your buzz should endure for 44 seconds instead of 22.

If you are like me, these dictates sound like ”rules.” Personally, I can’t stand rules. In fact, I hate them so much that I spend every waking hour trying to bend the rules to benefit my business. Our master distiller Donnis Todd can’t stand rules either. So, the two of us came up with a way to get around the rules.

Let’s say, for example, every week a customer was to tell me he wants to buy a barrel of my bourbon. Not just a bottle … but an entire barrel. Were I to adhere to the above rule, it would be illegal for me to sell him that barrel.

Single-Barrel-Bottle-Black-Robs-smFortunately, rules are really just signposts along the way and there’s almost always a way around them. That is why it is with great pleasure that I am proud to introduce Garrison Brothers Single Barrel Bourbon, sold by the barrel and only by the barrel. This one breaks all the rules.

Here’s how it works: In 2011, we set aside 342 of the finest tasting, highest quality bourbon barrels on the ranch. We let those barrels mature in the Texas heat for three blistering years.

Then we started inviting Texans and other bourbon lovers to come out to the distillery and pick out a barrel. We give these visitors a little taste from a few select barrels and they decide which one they want.

Then we invite them to come back out a few weeks later and bottle the bourbon from their barrel. Once the bourbon is bottled, we ship the bourbon and the barrel to their local liquor store.

We thought it was a pretty cool idea. Others did too. Our good friend Mike Raymond who owns Reserve 101 in Houston, which has one of the state’s largest selections of fine bourbon whiskies, loved the idea. He was the first person to jump on board. His barrel has been bottled and is on the way to his bar right now. The bourbon from that barrel is exquisite. Every bottle he’ll receive has a special silver sticker that says “Hand-selected by master distiller Donnis Todd for Reserve 101.”

But Mike is not alone. Barrels are also en route to Saglimbeni’s Fine Wine and Spirits in San Antonio, where wonderful, friendly people gather each Saturday for tastings. Joe sent his entire staff out to select a barrel.

The Gaylord Texan in Grapevine reserved a barrel for their Silver Bar. Specs and Sigels ordered barrels. Twin Liquors and Goody Goody ordered barrels. Harley’s in Longview ordered barrels. Longhorn Liquor in Lumberton ordered a barrel. H&H/Costco ordered barrels. Western Beverage ordered barrels. Total Wine and More ordered a hundred barrels.

You should start seeing these beautiful bottles in stores any day now.


What’s most interesting about this program is that every barrel is unique. Every barrel has its own personality. Every barrel yields a slightly different flavor profile.

So, want your own barrel of bourbon? It WILL set you back a little. We estimate that each barrel will yield between 48 and 81 bottles and the suggested retail price is $109.99 per bottle. (Of course, each retailer will mark it up as they see fit; we can’t control that.) But you’re probably looking at $5,300 to $8,900 per barrel depending on the Angel’s Share losses during maturation.

If you want your own barrel of Garrison Brothers Single Barrel Bourbon, all you have to do is fill out this form and take it to your local liquor store. As of the date of this newsletter, just 99 barrels remain. They are sold “first-come-first served.” When they’re gone, they’re gone forever.


Rumors of our demise…

… have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, this little business did something in 2014 we’ve never done before. We turned a small profit. Seriously. And it only took us 11 years.

The profit may be tiny — not even enough to buy a bottle of our bourbon – but that’s okay. We’re damn proud to have reached this milestone. We want to say thanks to each and every one of you who bought a bottle of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey. We could not have done it without your support.

And to all the venture capitalists and professional investors who told me it could never be done, you may now kiss my redneck ass!

Going. Going. Gone

Texas is and always will be home for us. And we are deeply indebted to all the Texans who put our bourbon on the map.

But in 2014, we decided to step outside our backyard a little. Today, Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Tennessee and Washington DC.

If you live in one of these states and haven’t seen a bottle on the shelf yet, please be patient with us. This is all so new that we don’t even know yet which retailers and bars are serving Garrison Brothers. If you wouldn’t mind asking your local retailer or bartender to bring in some Garrison Brothers, we’d sure appreciate the help.

We have not forgotten the American bad-asses who are stationed all over the world defending our country either. In 2014, we entered into a distribution agreement with EURPAC, a distributor that supplies American military bases, through which our bourbon is being distributed at U.S. military bases all over the world. Now, when American servicemen and servicewomen get to take their boots off after a long day, they can finish the day with a glass of good bourbon.

And I can promise that my brother Charlie, our master distiller Donnis Todd, and I are wearing out our own boots spreading the Garrison Brothers gospel. If we haven’t been to your store or bar yet, we will get there, and we look forward to meeting you.

Speaking of the Gospel, We Could Use Some Help Spreading It

If you have spent any time with our family in Hye, you’ve probably noticed we’re a pretty tight-knit group. We take care of our own. We take our corporate culture and core values seriously. For this reason, it makes me nervous as hell to bring on new people.

But growth is growth. And God knows we need the help. So, we are looking for new blood. There are two specific areas where we need help:

Bourbon Evangelists – If you believe in bourbon — real, authentic handmade bourbon — and love drinking it and talking about it, then we want to talk to you. We intend to hire and train at least four full-time people who will be Garrison Brothers Bourbon Evangelists. We’re looking immediately for help in Texas, California, Florida, New York and Illinois.

This business is all about relationships. A successful Bourbon Evangelist will be responsible for sales, sales support and brand building within a defined region. Our evangelists will be professional, honest and passionate about the brand and the customers we serve. Uncompromising ethics are a must. An Evangelist will call on accounts daily, create and staff events, train distributors, teach servers and earn the support of the local distributor’s sales teams.

Bourbon Evangelists will be expected to interact successfully with individuals ranging from retail store salespeople to restaurant owners and chain restaurant executives.

You will learn the job by training with our hospitality and production teams at the distillery in Hye. When they tell me you’re ready, you’ll hit the road with my brother and me for a few weeks. When we are sure you’re ready, we’ll set you free in your own territory. Bear in mind, this position is not for the faint of heart. There will be a ton of travel and we always write thank you notes.

Hospitality in Hye – We recently lost two of our favorite people who decided to pursue other careers. We’ve also recently opened a gift shop that is open seven days a week. At the same time we’re expanding the number and scope of the events we host in Hye. As a result, we need some help at the distillery in Hye. The job is part tour guide, part gift shop attendant, and part educator.

If you like the idea of getting your hands dirty, and if you are comfortable greeting crowds and can do so with a warm, Texas smile on your face, this might be the spot for you.

If these positions sounds intriguing, you can read the full job descriptions below. Instructions for applying are there as well.

Texas Country Reporter – We’re On The Air

Hill-Country-Reporter-pic-from-FBEach time I watch Texas Country Reporter with Bob Phillips, it brings back youthful memories of growing up in Houston. I can remember waking up on a weekend and the entire family would watch CBS News Sunday Mornings with Charles Kuralt. There was also Eyes of Texas with KPRC’s Ron Stone.

Like these great journalists before him, Bob Phillips is a masterful storyteller. So it was our great pleasure to have Bob and his crew come bottle bourbon with us last fall. And, as always, Bob managed to capture well the essence of the Garrison Brothers family in his segment on us that is airing across the state now.

Please give us 5 minutes to watch this:

The Road Goes On Forever

If you’ve taken the time to visit the events page at www.garrisonbros.com, then you’re aware that when we’re not in Hye distilling or bottling bourbon, our staff is out on the road sharing our bourbon with new friends in faraway places.

If you are one of those strange people who does not tire of our worn out bullshit, please come have a drink with us. Here are a few upcoming events where we can all get together for a drink.

  • Single Barrel Tasting Party with Dan Garrison and Mike Raymond at Reserve 101 in Houston – Tuesday, April 7 from 6:30 to 9.
  • Bourbon Pairing Dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Dallas with general manager Chris Petruska – Wednesday, June 10, 2015 from 6 to 9 pm

To make reservations and for a complete list of all the fandangos we have planned this spring and summer, please visit www.garrisonbros.com/garrison-brothers-events. All these events will sell out quickly.

Back at the Ranch

If you can’t find Garrison Brothers at a bar or store near your home, you can always come drink with us in Hye. You can smell and taste the corn cooking; walk through the fermentation rooms; nose and taste the “White Dog”; sample a little bourbon from one of our releases; and ask all the questions you want. Trail bosses Stephanie, Chris and Shine will make you feel right at home.

We offer tours and tastings Wednesday through Sunday at 10, noon, 2 and 4. Reservations can be made here: http://www.garrisonbros.com.

And our new gift shop – the Hye Atop Bottle Shop — is open seven days a week. Mondays and Tuesday until 4. Every other day we are open until 5.

Finally, you don’t have to come all the way to Hye to pick up some Garrison Brothers gear. We’ve launched Garrison Brothers’ Dry Goods Store. There you’ll find t-shirts, whiskey nosing glasses, hats, bumper stickers and cool bourbon shit.

Thanks for staying with us to the end. Vaya con Dios. Have a great spring and summer and Drink Texas Bourbon!

Kind regards,


Dan Garrison

Proprietor and Distiller

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It’s Texas On The Rocks Y’all!

Texas On The Rocks

This Valentine’s Day, you are in for a treat. Garrison Brothers Distillery and our fellow Texas craft distillers are throwing a party in Austin that you will NOT want to miss. It’s called Texas On The Rocks and it will be held at the Austin Music Hall from 6 to midnight.

The evening starts at 6 with a VIP Craft Cocktail Throwdown. We’ve invited some of Texas’ best bartenders to come make a drink. But not just any drink. We’re searching for the next MARGARITA. A cocktail so ubiquitous that it becomes synonymous with the great state of Texas.

At 7:30, the doors open to the general public for the largest distilled spirits sampling event in Texas history. More than 40 craft distilleries from all over the country, and a few craft beer and wine makers, will be serving you their libations in small samples and in innovative cocktails.

Texas On The Rocks

As you browse the aisles with your spouse learning about this country’s exciting craft distilleries, the main stage at the Austin Music Hall will explode with a wide range of eclectic Austin-style entertainers. The University of Texas Pom Squad, professional two-step dance teams, trick ropers, cowboy poets, the Texas Aggie Wranglers are all expected to take to the stage against a back-drop of larger than life Texas imagery and dreams.

There will be a Cinco Five Star Vodka-laden ice sculpture, a Yellow Rose Whiskey Bar, a Dulce Vida Margarita Bar, Garrison Brothers Straight Bourbon tastings, and delicious, delectible grab-and-go food options. You can also taste distilled spirits from Rebecca Creek Distillery, Balcones Distillery, Titos, Dulce Vida Spirits, Yellow Rose Distilling, Revolution Spirits, Iron Root Republic, Bone Spirits, Hill Country DistillersAzar Distilling, Whitmeyers Distilling, San Luis Spirits, Tequila 512 and Deep Eddy Vodka, plus dozens more.

Texas On The Rocks

From 10:30 til midnight, the gang from Tito’s Vodka will be making Tito’s Breakfast Tacos and blood marys in the VIP Lounge.

This sensational event is underwritten by our good friends and partners Republic National Distributing Company and Glazers Family of Companies. Tickets have just gone on sale at www.texasontherocks.org. They are $80 per person now and $60 more if you want to attend the pre- and post-party VIP events. But prices go up January 14. So make a reservation now.

Texas On The Rocks

The entire Garrison Brothers Team will be there for Texas On The Rocks. We hope we’ll see you there too.

Texas On the Rocks
Austin Music Hall (MAP)

February 14th, 2015
VIP: 6:00 to Midnight
Tasting 7:30 to 10:30

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Texas Bourbon News, Fall 2014

Garrison Brothers



The Fall 2014 Vintage of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which is hitting liquor stores right now, is the oldest and finest tasting bourbon we have ever made. We are very proud of this bourbon and can’t wait to share some with you.

But first, I feel the need to rant!

Older Women, Faster Horses and Cheaper Whiskey

Last month, a liquor store manager in San Antonio told me my bourbon was too expensive. He wanted to know why. I explained: “Well, we use organic, food-grade grain that costs four times as much as the grain used by the big commercial distilleries and we use custom-made 10-gallon, 15-gallon, 25-gallon, 30-gallon and 53-gallon wine barrels instead of whiskey barrels. These barrels cost three times as much as a traditional whiskey barrel.” His response: “That’s crazy; you’d sell so much more if it was cheaper.”

Perhaps he’s right; maybe we should make cheap bourbon. But there’s a problem with that idea.

The mission of Garrison Brothers Distillery is to create, build and sustain a profitable, family-owned and -operated whiskey distillery that makes the best tasting and highest quality bourbon whiskey in the world, and in turn, supports and nourishes our families, the families of those who work with us, and the community in which we operate.

Whisky Bible Both BottlesThat has been our mission since we started this business in 2003. Making cheap bourbon does not align with this mission. Bottling whiskey made elsewhere by someone else also does not fit within this mission. Lying, cheating and deceptive advertising do not fit within this mission.

We are who we are. We will not change. You want cheap whiskey, look elsewhere.


Fortunately for the San Antonio liquor store owner, more low-priced whiskey arrives every day. Merchant-bottled brands are everywhere. I saw a handle of “bourbon” at a Total Wine and More the other day that was $17.00. FOR A HANDLE!!! It did have one redeeming trait though; the guy pictured on the side of the carton had a groovy, hipster handlebar mustache.


Fortunately for bourbon, there are some watchdogs out there who tell it like it is. The Chuck Cowdery Blog is a great resource. So is SKUs Recent Eats, the L.A. Food and Whiskey Blog, which maintains an amazing list of whiskey makers. And, of course, many of the experts on the straightbourbon.com forum almost always get the story right.

Bourbon lovers have gotten their panties in a wad about this cheap whiskey. Seems there’s a new class action lawsuit being filed every day against a liquor company that might be misrepresenting the authenticity or origin of its brand. Though hilarious to many, it’s not so funny to the guys getting sued. Companies are being torn down and people are losing their jobs.

I was joking about these frivolous lawsuits with my wife.  I suggested: “We should sue the Keebler Elves. We could get some serious coin from those elves. Surely they aren’t making all those cookies. Even better, let’s go after the Quaker Oats Company and Aunt Jemima!” The next day she sent me this:

After that, I read some truly troubling news: Drinking Red Bull doesn’t really ‘give you wings’:


Is it just me or has the entire world gone insane?

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

If, like me, you are a serious student of how to make great bourbon whiskey, you might have read Clay Risen’s 2012 story in the New York Times about bourbon being made in small barrels.

It seems Clay and Geoffrey Kleinman at DrinkSpirits.com do not believe that different maturation methods can produce a better tasting bourbon. They argue that age is the only ingredient that matters. Clay focuses his disdain on small barrels and wrongfully assumes that we at Garrison Brothers only use small barrels to make our bourbon. The Drinkspirits.com writer actually provides a blueprint for what we at Garrison Brothers should be doing: “If Garrison Brothers put this whiskey in 55 gallon casks and let it age 4-6 years, blending those casks to a unified taste, they might have something really special.”

These critics give no credence to terroir, climate or the quality of the White Dog that goes into those barrels. Or, most importantly, the quality of the barrels themselves. We use expensive wine barrels because we correctly believe they increase the oak lactones, eugenol, guaiacol, vanillin, furfural, methyl-furfural and iso-eugenol aroma compounds. For those who are unfamiliar with these chemical compounds, they are essentially sugars that come from the sap in the white American oak barrel. They give bourbon and wine its caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, chocolate, clove, coconut, coffee and honey flavors and aromas.


The critics also neglect to consider the effects of Angel’s Share and terroir in their argument. If a bourbon distillery annually loses 10% of the contents of a barrel to evaporation or “Angel’s Share,” it’s going to be a real challenge for that distiller to make a 6-year old bourbon. There simply won’t be any liquid left in the barrel. If you are planning a new bourbon distillery, you might want to factor that small detail into your business plan.

Fortunately, the bourbon makers at Jim Beam brands don’t buy into this hype. Note this recent Facebook post from Beam Brands about the effect of small barrels:

Bottling the Best Bourbon Ever Made


The redneck maquiladora is back in action this fall. More than 700 brave, bourbon-swilling volunteers from all over the great state of Texas have come out to help us bottle the Fall 2014 Vintage of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

We sent out an email listing the dates we would be bottling and we asked for 700 willing volunteers. All 700 of the available spots were filled in about four hours. So, we’ve been bottling bourbon since September and don’t plan to stop until Thanksgiving. If you are in our neck of the woods, you should stop by and meet these great people. They are our heroes.

In September, we were joined by Bob Phillips and his production team at Texas Country Reporter. Look for this episode to air on television statewide later this fall. As always, I sign and number each and every bottle at the end of the production line. If I have to travel, our capable master distiller Donnis Todd takes over the Silver Sharpie.

AggieWarHymnIf you buy a bottle of our Fall 2014 Vintage bourbon – and you should — please look for a love note on the back. We asked our volunteers to write tasteful notes on the backs of their bottles. One gorgeous brunette, who shall remain anonymous, wrote “For a good time, call me when you buy this bottle,” and she put her cell phone number on it. Sure enough, the bottle was purchased at a liquor store in Dallas. The buyer called our bottler and they drank the bourbon together, striking up an enduring friendship.

Another bottler from that college in College Station got even more carried away and wrote the entire Aggie War Hymn on the back. Pretty cool. And it’s good to know Aggies can write.

New Faces. Same Attitude.

While I’m unnecessarily hazing Aggies, I want to introduce you to some new faces at Garrison Brothers Distillery.

Ferdinand The Bull

Ferdinand arrived this summer after a well-documented journey from Wyoming. He stands about 48 hands high and is about 16 feet long from horn to tail. And he has a great story.

While on vacation in Crested Butte, Colorado in 2012, I ran into sculptor Sean Guerrero on Elk Avenue. Sean was displaying a stunning horse he had made from chrome automobile bumpers salvaged from scrap yards. As happens in Crested Butte, Sean and I drank a little bourbon, and the next thing I knew I was writing a check. I neglected to tell my wife about this check or The Bull. A year later, Sean emailed me and explained that he had collected all the auto parts needed for Ferdinand. I still neglected to mention the project to my wife.


In the summer of 2014, Sean called to tell me Ferdinand was ready and he would begin the journey to Hye. I still did not have the cajones to tell my wife about the idiotic project. Divorce was eminent.

That summer, we took the kids on a four day vacation to Crested Butte. I spent the vacation on conference calls, in meetings with Colorado liquor stores and bars, or on the phone. One morning, during a call with a liquor distributor, my sweet wife brought me a cup of coffee. When the call ended, I rushed downstairs late for a meeting with a liquor store owner. I passed my wife in the kitchen who held up a finger, meaning I should stop and talk to her. The conversation went something like this:

nancyNancy: “The strangest thing happened to me in town when I went to get coffee.”
Dan:      “Honey, I am really late. Can you tell me later?”
Nancy: “As I was driving down Elk Avenue in the rain, I passed this trailer. On the trailer was this enormous, stunning 12-foot tall chrome Longhorn bull. And the sculptor was standing there next to him. So I pulled over to complement his work.”
Dan:      (Visibly shaking and beginning to perspire) “Oh”
Nancy: “Yes, his name is Sean Guerrero and he gave me his card.”
Dan:      (Hyperventilating) “Oh”
Nancy: “I asked him where the bull was headed and he told me ‘to some bourbon whiskey distillery in Texas.’ I said, you’re kidding. I own a bourbon distillery in Texas.”
Dan:    (Having heart attack) “Wow. What a coincidence.”
Nancy: “So the sculptor told me it was headed to a place called Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye. I replied. Wow. My name’s Nancy Garrison and I own Garrison Brothers Distillery. How much did that bull cost?”
Sean told her how much and said: “You mean your husband didn’t tell you about this.”
Nancy: (At this point in the story, she was still smiling and had begun to cry a little) “No, he didn’t. He never mentioned it.”
Dan:   (Starting to smile, a little): “Well, someone does have a birthday next week. Maybe your husband wanted to surprise you.”
Nancy: (gushing, laughing and crying tears of joy) “Well, he did.”

If there’s ever been any doubt that I am the luckiest man in the world that should now be erased.

Charlie Garrison

CharlieMost people assume my brother Charles has been with the business since its inception. Wishful thinking. Charles has been living with his wonderful family in Arizona for the past 20 years. They owned and operated successful and popular casual restaurants in Scottsdale. But we have always wanted to work together. When a lease on one of his restaurants expired in 2013, Charles started doing double-duty as we began distributing our bourbon in Arizona and Colorado. He managed the restaurants during the morning and spent afternoons and evenings peddling whiskey at bars, restaurants, hotels and liquor stores.

Now, finally, he is Garrison Brothers’ full time whiskey peddler. You’ll see Charlie all over Arizona, Colorado, Indiana and Illinois – probably at a bar. Sadly for the business, he drinks more bourbon than he sells.

Christopher Feller

chrisChris Feller is an American bad ass. He showed up last summer interviewing for a hospitality assistant position wherein he would help Stephanie manage tours, events and the gift shop. He kind of shocked everyone with his wit, personality and uncompromising work ethic. He’s also one hell of a carpenter. I can count on being cornered every time I am at the distillery by Chris, who will unload his next great idea on me. They are always spot on and Chris executes them with enthusiasm and skill. Always wanting more responsibility, Chris will soon take over many of Laurel Hoekstra’s daunting bottling responsibilities.

James (“Jack”) HeikkeneKeennenenennen

JackJack joined us fresh out of Schreiner University where he majored in mathematics and minored in chemistry. It is almost impossible to correctly spell his name: James (Jack) Heikkenen. Seriously, how many Ks and Ns does one really need in a last name. For that reason, Donnis re-named him Jack. He will always be Jack. If you come visit us, we ask that you please refer to him as Jack. We don’t want him to develop some sort of identity crisis.

During his interview with Donnis, Jack was asked the standard, everyday interview questions:

Donnis: “What kind of knife are you carrying right now?”
Jack: “An Emerson Knives Model EDC-1, nicknamed Widowmaker.”
Donnis: “Do you have a pen on you?”
Jack: “Yes, Sharpie Permanent Marker, fine point, black.”
Donnis: “How many guns do you own?”
Jack: “I’ve never counted them all. I’m on the board of directors of the Kerrville Gun Club.”

He was hired on the spot (we seriously considered making him our CEO). He has been a tremendous asset, breaking his back cooking sweet mash in our 100-plus degree kitchen every damn day, and charming the ladies with his mischievous grin.

Paige (“Shine”) Blumenshine

3A0A5066-smThis summer we began looking for help with our tour operation. We were getting so busy on Friday’s and Saturdays that we could barely keep the frigerator stocked with cold beer. And along came Shine.

Hailing from Maurice, Louisiana, Paige Blumenshine is a coonass. She can’t spell “Go” without an E, A, U and X. And she works her coonass off. During her summer F.N.G. internship, she and Chris stained barrels, varnished the Hillbilly Hay Ride, swept floors and rebuilt the gift shop. No one asked her to do any of this. She just did it.

She always has a smile on her face. Hence, the nickname “Shine.” If you come visit us at Garrison Brothers, you might be tempted to flirt with her. Don’t. First, there is a mysterious boyfriend in the picture. Second, her big brothers at the distillery will kick your ass.

Alex Thompson

alexDuring 2013, I kept dropping the ball, missing important events I’d agreed to attend and missing meetings, flights and deadlines. Plus, since I was always on the road, nothing was getting accomplished. Alex Thompson stepped in this July and quickly brought order to my chaos. If you need something from me, it’s probably Alex that will get it to you. If I make a flight or a meeting, it’s because Alex pushed me out the door on time. If there’s a type-o in the newsletter, it is all Alex’s fault.

We share a little office in Austin, which has become our sales and marketing office. If one has to share a small office with someone, one could not ask for a better person than Alex. After a rough start – like jumping onto a high speed train – she has quickly caught up and is making life easier for our family.

But Back to Bourbon

JamesThere is no doubt in my mind that the Fall 2014 Vintage of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey is the smoothest, creamiest, most sophisticated bourbon we have ever released. When Donnis and I married the barrels together, we knew it would be good, but even we were surprised. We put our heads together and came up with these tasting notes:

Fruit forward with orange blossom, wildflower honey and lemon meringue. Honey, pears, peaches, and cinnamon-caramel candied pecans. Rich, smooth and creamy caramel finish. Perhaps the fruitiest, sweetest Garrison Brothers yet. Well balanced, smooth and playful. A true joy to drink with an addictive finish.

bottlesPlease consider picking up a bottle or a case to celebrate something special: a marriage, graduation, divorce or deer season. You won’t be disappointed.

And if you just want a taste, please consider visiting one of Texas’ sensational Saltgrass Steakhouses. Our good friends at Saltgrass have just brought Garrison Brothers in behind the bar at about 30 locations in Texas, Louisiana and Colorado. The people, the food and the service at these fine restaurants are exceptional.

Do You Serve Garrison Brothers?

It honestly boggles my mind to tell you this: Today, Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey is sold at liquor stores and served at fine hotels, bars and restaurants in 13 states in America. We are distributed in Texas, of course. But also in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Washington, D.C., Tennessee, and now – believe it or not – Kentucky.

Yeah, you heard that right, Kentucky. Kentucky is and always will be the rightful birthplace of bourbon. There are more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than there are people. Kentuckians drink more bourbon per capita than anyone else in the country. We’ve been distributing our bourbon in Kentucky for just a month but have already sold about 100 cases there. The reception has been outstanding. Thank you Kentucky! We love your bourbon too.

bourbonflowIt’s no big secret that we at Garrison Brothers are proud supporters of the men and women serving our country in the military. Many of our staff are former Army and we built the “Wall of American Badass” in our kitchen, which contains hundreds of unit patches from servicemen and women who have visited the distillery.

So, by far, the most exciting news for us this fall were the purchase orders we received from American military bases all over the world. More than 300 cases of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey are currently in route to Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard bases in Inchon, Korea, Okinawa, and Germany, as well as bases here in the states in Fort Knox, Louisiana, Maryland and Fort Hood. Soon, we’ll have the opportunity to visit these bases and pour samples for the American bad-asses who have got this country’s 6. We’re really looking forward to it. And thanks to all of you and your families for your service and dedication.

The Party Never Ends

If you’ve taken the time to visit the events page at www.garrisonbros.com, then you’re aware that when I’m not in Hye distilling or bottling bourbon, I am sharing our bourbon with new friends in faraway places. Last year, I put 50,000 miles on the black bourbon beast from Dodge. Donnis is taking over events and sales in Louisiana and doing a great job in Texas. Brother Charlie is hosting events in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana and Illinois

If you are one of those strange people who never tires of our weary, worn out bullshit, please come have a drink with us. Here are a few upcoming events where we can all get together for a drink.

To make reservations and for a complete list of all the fandangos we have planned this spring, please visit www.garrisonbros.com/garrison-brothers-events.

All these events will sell out quickly. That seems to happen when our bourbon flows freely.

Garrison Brothers Single Barrel (From Hye, Texas)

In November 2013, we began selling Garrison Brothers Single Barrel Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey from the distillery. The response has been tremendous.

Garrison Brothers™ Single Barrel Straight Bourbon WhiskeyEvery barrel has its own unique personality and flavor profile. We truly don’t know what that barrel is going to yield. Each week our master distiller Donnis Todd selects a barrel he likes from the barn. We cut the bourbon inside to 94 proof with rainwater and then bottle that bourbon individually without mingling it with any bourbon from other barrels. If you come visit us, we’ll let you wax your own bottle of Single Barrel to seal in the contents. Then we’ll gift wrap it for you and it’s yours to take home.

If you’ve got a friend or family member who likes bourbon and wants something truly unique, this is the ultimate gift. Please bear in mind, though, the great state of Texas will only permit us to sell up to two bottles per person from the distillery.

However, since we’ve had such a great response to the Single Barrel, we have decided to start distributing it throughout the country in 2015. More news on this sensational release in January.

Back at the Ranch

If you can’t find Garrison Brothers at a bar or store near your home, you can always come drink with us in Hye. You can smell and taste the corn cooking; walk through the fermentation rooms; nose and taste the “White Dog”; sample a little bourbon from one of our releases; and ask all the questions you want. Trail bosses Stephanie, Chris and Shine will make you feel right at home.


We offer tours and tastings Wednesday through Sunday at 10, noon, 2 and 4. Reservations can be made here: http://www.garrisonbros.com.

Finally, you don’t have to come all the way to Hye to pick up some Garrison Brothers gear. We’ve launched Garrison Brothers’ Dry Goods Store. There you’ll find t-shirts, whiskey nosing glasses, hats, bumper stickers and cool bourbon shit.

Thanks for staying with us to the end. Vaya con Dios. Have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas and Drink Texas Bourbon.

Kind regards,


Dan Garrison

Proprietor and Distiller

posted by admin in Fall 2014 Newsletter and have Comments (26)

Bourbon at The Bird



Bar Manager Ryan Fussell and executive chef David McMillan have put together an extraordinary evening at Bird Café in Fort Worth on Monday, September 15 at 6:30. (Update, this dinner will be rescheduled, see note above.) Ryan, it seems, is a bit of a hoarder and has somehow amassed one of the greatest collections of Garrison Brothers bourbon vintages ever seen. He’ll be serving our Fall 2011 vintage in a cocktail called Fuss’ that includes Takubetsu jumai sake and flamed rosemary. With each course, he’s featuring the Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013 and Fall 2013 Garrison Brothers bourbon vintages.

Chef David McMillan, a California native, studied fine arts and sculpture at Boston University before a stay in Europe re-set him on a culinary course that has taken him to St. Augustine, Atlanta, Beverly Hills, Boston and Los Angeles as well as the wine country in France and California. Playing multiple roles, David has been chef, owner and caterer for top-rated restaurants, hotels, Hollywood celebrities and world dignitaries. His small plate menu is mouth-watering and I’m not going to even pretend to know what many of these ingredients are:

  • Calves tongue pastrami, house mustard, ementhaller & whiskey braised cabbage on rye
  • Nduja, pain perdue & braised apple
  • Kasu-cured black cod, daikon & roast shitake
  • Latteda chevre & muscat grape preserves
  • Treacle pie & crème fraiche

Garrison_DigitalAnd the food and drink is just half the adventure. The architecture is also overwhelming. The restaurant overlooking Sundance Square, is a looming space with 6,400 square feet indoors and 1,300 square feet of patio, is split between two levels in the renovated 1889 Land Title Building and newly built Commerce Building. In a release, Owner Shannon Wynne called the Land Title Building, “one of the very last of a building style that used to dominate downtown Fort Worth, representing the lavish and detailed Victorian architecture that Americans at the time emulated from Europe.”

Make Reservations Here

Reservations are $85 per person (gratuity included) and can be made by calling Bird Café at 817-332-2473. Only 40 guests will attend and it will sell out quickly. No matter where in Texas you reside, this dinner in Fort Worth will be worth the drive.

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Summertime Fine Drinking and Dining

If you’re on the road in Colorado this summer and looking for a sensational place to dine and drink bourbon, we’ve got a savory suggestion…

e3logoResize  food  martini

E3 Chophouse, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Brother Charlie is headed to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a spectacular bourbon dinner at E3 Chophouse. General Manager David Eliason is hosting a Garrison Brothers Pairing on Thursday July 31st at 6:30pm. The night will begin with a sample of both the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 Vintages of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey and each course will be paired with one of E3’s amazing cocktails.

Appetizer: E3 Beef Tartar w/ Shallots, Dijon, Truffle

Soup: Bourbon Lobster Bisque with Garrison Brothers Bourbon and Claw meat

Salad: Smoked Salmon Salad with Whiskey Colie

Main Course: Oak Smoked Prime Rib with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, Honey roasted vegetables, Au Jus

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse with Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Nib, Bourbon Butterscotch Whipped Cream

Reservations: Reservations are only $60 per plate through E3 Chophouse at (970) 879-7167

Website:           www.e3chophouse.com

Address:          701 Yampa Street, Steamboat Springs, Colorado 80487


In the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing events in New York, San Antonio, Houston and Fort Worth. Hope to see ya’ll there.

Have a safe and happy summer!

The Garrison Brothers Crew


posted by Dan Garrison in Blog and have Comments (5)

Garrison Brothers Bourbon Pairing Dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Dallas

ruthchrissteakhouseWe are excited to be partnering with Chef Thomas Holt and general manager Chris Petruska at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Dallas next Wednesday, July 9. We will begin at 6:30 pm with bourbon cocktails and a Meet and Greet with Dan Garrison. Yeah, sorry, you’re stuck with me. Dinner will be served at 7:00 and paired with Garrison Brothers Texas Bourbon and a few exquisite wines.

Large Steak


First course: Spicy Ahi Tuna paired with an old fashioned
Second course: Crab and Corn Chowder paired with a Conundrum White Blend
Third Course: Tomato and onion salad paired with a Belle Glos Pinot Noir
Fourth Course: Prime filet with crab and béarnaise sauce paired with Garrison Brothers Spring 2014 Vintage
Fifth Course: Chocolate Sin Cake paired with a dessert wine and Garrison Brothers Fall 2013 Vintage

The entertaining, educational and bawdy subject matter will be all about great food and great bourbon. We’ll discuss the history of Garrison Brothers Distillery, understanding whiskey types and how whiskey is made, proper nosing and tasting of fine straight bourbon, and the history of bourbon whiskey in America.

Reservations are required and seating is limited. A reservation is $100 per person for a meal that would normally cost much more.

Please call (972) 250-2244 to reserve your spot!

Event Web Site:     http://www.ruthschris.com/
Phone Number:    (972) 250-2244
Location: 17840 Dallas Parkway , Dallas, TX 75287
posted by Dan Garrison in Blog and have No Comments