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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.

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.

AuntJemima

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’:

http://time.com/money/3484564/red-bull-settlement-ruined/

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.

BeamSmallBarrels

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

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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.

Ferdinand3Ferdinand2ferdinand

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.

The-BrandTheBarnJackMack

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-sig

Dan Garrison

Proprietor and Distiller

posted by admin in Fall 2014 Newsletter and have Comments (12)



Bourbon at The Bird

TheBirdCafe2

Garrison_Menu

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.

posted by admin in Blog and have No Comments



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



THESE BOYS WANT TO FRY YOU SOME CHICKEN!

The Roll Out The Barrel Float   JD in Barrel Suit

If you’re headed to the Hill Country this summer, plan your trip for June 20th and 21st, for the Stonewall Peach Jamboree and Rodeo, the finest slice of redneck Americana one will ever experience. The 53rd Annual Peach Jamboree, Parade and Rodeo is Friday and Saturday. There’s an awesome small town rodeo and dance each night and they even let democrats in.

The Peach Parade meanders through town Saturday morning at 10 am. Garrison Brothers Distillery will have a float in the parade — look for the ugly boys with beards and the pretty girls without them  — and we’re sponsoring the Bull Riding at the rodeo. If this all sounds hokey as hell to you, well, GET OVER IT AND PUT YOUR BOOTS ON!

Immediately after the parade, at noon, everyone is invited back to Garrison Brothers Distillery for a fried chicken lunch in our barrel barn. Come early though because we will run out of chicken and lunch is first come, first-served. We’ll have the gravelly Gary Berg and his gorgeous granddaughter Bailey Renee playing off the back porch at The Barrel Barn. And we’ll be auctioning off some of the most beautiful whiskey and wine barrels you’ve ever seen.

Lunch is BYOB and we’re asking for $20 a person. We will donate most of the proceeds to The Hye Preservation Society. The “boys round here” bought the first 150 tickets so only 100 tickets remain available. When it’s sold out, it’s sold out. You can buy tickets at http://www.garrisonbros.com/tour. Just click on the box that says WINNER, WINNER CHICKEN DINNER.

Since we’ve got tons of chicken to fry, there are no refunds on tickets unless you get run over by a parade float.

We’ll also announce this on our Facebook page in the next few days at Garrison Brothers Facebook Web Page. But by then, tickets may already be sold out.

You can learn more about everything going on at the Stonewall Peach Parade and buy event tickets at http://www.stonewalltexas.com/peach_jamboree.html

We hope to see ya’ll here. God bless America!

Kind regards,

Dan Garrison

posted by Dan Garrison in Blog and have Comment (1)



Bourbon Dinner with Chef Craig Doyle at Ruth’s Chris Fort Worth

steak

 

 

 

 

 

If you were unable to join us in Hye this past Saturday for The Stillhouse Series Dinner with Chef Jon Bonnell, then you missed an extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime event. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we’re packing the truck with bourbon for another sensational dinner in Fort Worth next week.

We are excited to be partnering with Chef Craig Doyle and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse next Wednesday, April 23. We will begin at 6:00 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.

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 $95 per person for a meal that would normally cost much more.

Please call 817.348.0080 to reserve your spot!

Event Web Site:     http://www.ruthschris.com/
Phone Number:     817.348.0080
posted by Dan Garrison in Blog and have Comments (15)



Dinner in The Barrel Barn with Chef Jon Bonnell

Bonnell

What: A Once In A Lifetime Culinary Experience

Where: Garrison Brothers Barrel Barn

When: Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why: Benefitting the Hye Preservation Society

Cost: $175 per plate or $1,000 for a table of 6

Reservations: www.stillhouseseries.com

Friends,

It is my great honor to announce that legendary Fort Worth Chef Jon Bonnell will be cooking us dinner in the Barrel Barn at Garrison Brothers Distillery on Saturday evening, April 12. Wines will be paired with each course by master vintner Chris Brundrett of William Chris Vineyards.

Chef Bonnell has been a friend since we were first introduced by Old 300 Member Matt Rainwater back in 2009. Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine was the first restaurant in Fort Worth to serve Garrison Brothers and he has been a great supporter ever since. You will find a bottle of The Cowboy behind his bar. Today, he is also serving great bourbons at Waters Bonnell’s Coastal Cuisine in Fort Worth, which opened to rave reviews last year. He is a hands-on chef. I make it a point to visit his restaurants when I’m in Fort Worth; he has never not been there.

Only 50 seats remain available. Reservations are $175 per plate or $1,000 for a table of 6 and a significant percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the Hye Preservation Society. Reservations can be made here: www.stillhouseseries.com

The good Lord has promised clear skies and a majestic view of the Milky Way. We look forward to seeing everyone there. Please join us and find out why this man is considered “The Most Loved Chef in Fort Worth.”

posted by Dan Garrison in Spring 2010 Newsletter and have No Comments



Texas Bourbon News, Spring 2014

This winter has been brutally cold. As I write this, it is 30 degrees and raining. We’ve been bottling bourbon out here in Hye and freezing our corks off. Thank God for the gorgeous glass of warm, amber liquid beside me. That’s straight bourbon and it’s good.

Never mind that it’s 6 am. And quit judging me.

Speaking of Bourbon

Fortune Magazine CoverAccording to a story by Clay Risen in the February 24 issue of Fortune Magazine, “domestic whiskey sales have soared by 40% in the past five years — NASCAR-fast numbers in a sector where good growth often means 2% or 3% a year. And things are even better abroad. In 2002, American distillers exported just $376 million in whiskey; by 2013 that number had almost tripled, to $1 billion.”

I like to think that Garrison Brothers Distillery and our fine friends who drink our bourbon might have played a small but important role in that growth. And you know what; it’s about damn time Americans and Europeans alike started realizing that scotch and vodka are inferior spirits, certainly in terms of quality, and definitely in terms of authenticity.

Did you know that there are more than a dozen “Texas whiskies” available now? I suppose if imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then we should be blushing. When we opened up back in 2006, our little business was the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas history, and according to Bill Samuels Jr. at Makers Mark, the first new bourbon distillery built in America since before Prohibition.

Today, everyone and their dog has their own whiskey brand. Some are actually made here; some are not. But who really cares? As far as I’m concerned, there can never be too much great bourbon whiskey. So keep ‘em coming.

But please do look for those “produced and bottled by” statements on the side of the bottle. You might just save a little money with a bottle from Kentucky that contains the same liquid as the one that was “produced in Texas.”  Our bottle reads: “Cooked, distilled, barreled and bottled by Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, Texas.” Enough said about that.

American Micro Whiskey of the Year

Whisky Bible Both BottlesI got to open my first Christmas present early this winter. My wife had gotten her hands on an early release of Jim Murray’s 2014 Whisky Bible. I have been a longtime reader of The Bible and an admirer of Jim Murray. His process and his vocabulary are hard to believe. He actually tastes more than 5,000 whiskies every year and provides detailed tasting notes on every single bottle. The Bible is truly a whiskey encyclopedia and no one can capture flavor notes like Mr. Murray.

He named Cowboy Bourbon from Garrison Brothers his American Micro Whisky of the Year and gave it an astounding 96 rating. Here’s what he had to say about The Cowboy:

Score 96- Superstar whiskies that give us all a reason to live

(Nose 23.5) Could be a blueprint for a solid bourbon aroma: beautifully waxy and nutty with a gathering of ever more intensifying tannins, the spice always well proportioned;

(Taste 24) Massive, not exactly Stagg like, as this has some very helpful sweetness to lessen the impact. And there is obviously less age involved. But, again, the weight and pace of the heavier notes, the citrus-studded hickory, even hints of burnt fruit cake (presumably from the rye) are all set to ensure maximum flavor fulfillment; treacle tinged with ulmo honey.

(Finish 24) Now lightens to allow the liquorice and Sumatra coffee to mix and relax; the treacle lessens to Demerara and manuka honey; the waves just keep on lapping for a ridiculously long finish;

(Balance 24.5) I always know when I have a truly great whisky on my hands; it takes every ounce of my professionalism to spit it out!

This has, and make no mistake, raised the bar for bourbon made by the micro distillers; it is truly world class, three year old or not. In fact the name is a misnomer; there are no cowboys at work here. This is damned tootin’ fine whiskey. Yessiree. 68% 600 bottles

I have been making bourbon for eight years now and have always believed my bourbon was delicious. I’ve always known that each release was getting better too. I know how hard we’ve worked. I’ve watched my crew sweat, bleed and suffer to get the job done. I know how many sleepless nights there have been for all of us. And I know how much risk and danger I’ve put my family and friends through with this insane entrepreneurial adventure.

So Mr. Murray’s acknowledgement of the quality of our bourbon was more than flattery for me. It was a delicious and savory milestone. I’m a pretty big guy, and some might say pretty tough, but I cried like a little girl when I read his review.

Mr. Murray also gave our Spring 2013 Vintage a 91 score and said nice things about it as well. For the second year in a row, he deservedly named George T. Stagg from Harlen Wheatley at Buffalo Trace American Whisky of the Year and it received a 97.5 rating. Stagg is a great bourbon.

White Chocolate GrillSpeaking of Great Kentucky Bourbons, I recently visited with Bobby Fitzgerald, who owns The White Chocolate Grill in Scottsdale, Arizona and he poured my brother Charlie and me a little Wild Turkey American Spirit 15-year-old, bottled in bond. Damn, you should get your hands on a bottle of this. Jimmy and Eddie Russell hit the ball out of the park with this bourbon.

Texas and Beyond

As ya’ll know, our philosophy has always been to drink all we can and sell the rest. Today, we’re drinking more than our fair share but there’s still bourbon left over. With requests for our bourbon coming from all over the world, with Mr. Murray’s review in hand, and with thousands of cases now coming off the little distillery in Hye this year, we had a tough decision to make.

I’m reluctant but pleased to announce that Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey will soon be available beyond Texas. In fact, at this moment, cases of Garrison Brothers’ bourbon are in route to Arizona, Germany and New York. We’re distributed in Arizona by Young’s Market Company. In Germany, our bourbon is available from Mike’s Whiskeyhandel in Munich. Blueprint Brands will be distributing Garrison Brothers in New York. Soon, we’ll identify distributors in Washington, D.C., Colorado, California and Louisiana.

distributors-logos

 

In 2016, we plan to begin distributing our bourbon in Hong Kong and Singapore. For those who might question Hong Kong and Singapore, I remind you that last month Japanese beer company Suntory bought iconic AMERICAN bourbon distillery Jim Beam for $13.6 billion dollars. No, we have no intention whatsoever of selling this business, especially not to a foreign company, but there are serious bourbon drinkers in Asia and the Far East. We think it’s Hye time to bring a little of their money back to America for a change.

This decision is bittersweet for me. I always wanted ours to be a Texas Born and Bred Bourbon that was only available in Texas. But if we’re ever going to turn a profit, and my wife keeps telling me that it is important to do so, we have to start sharing our bourbon with bourbon drinkers elsewhere.

So … good luck and good fortune to my babies … wherever they may roam.

The Road Goes On Forever and The Party Never Ends

Chef Jon BonnellIf you’ve taken the time to visit the events page at www.garrisonbros.com, then you’re aware that I am in my truck traveling somewhere across the great state of Texas almost every day. 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.

CharlieGarrisonSo, how the hell are we going to do the same thing in four new states this year? Good question. I have no idea. I do know that our master distiller Donnis Todd will be on the road here in Texas and will likely be a more engaging and better looking spokesperson than I am. I am turning events in Arizona over to brother Charlie, who at my urging has finally left the restaurant business to join Garrison Brothers full time. I anticipate that he will drink more than he sells.

But if you are one of those strange people who never tires of my weary, worn out bullshit, trust that I’ll still be wandering around Texas with a bourbon-fueled grin on my face. Here are a few upcoming events where we can all get together for a drink. Hope you’ll come visit with us.

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 Garrison Brothers’ bourbon flows freely.

It Happened In The Blink Of An Eye

January-2014---Barrel-Barn-OutsideWe are bottling a boatload of bourbon right now, about 18,000 bottles. As you have probably heard, we have a bottling volunteer waiting list with almost 2,000 names on it. But we had to fill 600 spots over 5 weeks of bottling. We were nervous. After all, if we can’t bottle the bourbon, we can’t sell it. If we can’t sell it, we’re out of business.

This year, we tried a different tact for recruiting volunteers. We created an online calendar and included a link to the calendar in an email so that volunteers could select their own bottling days. As we set the wheels in motion, we were worried. Would volunteers be angry that we’d gone from personalized communication to an automated system? Would the system work? Would we have enough volunteers?

What happened next was mind-blowing. Here’s the chronology of Wednesday, January 8:

1:31 pm – The email was blasted out.
1:37 pm – First volunteer signs up
1:40 pm –The second signs up
5:13 pm – Only four spots left
5:56 pm – Every bottling slot 100% filled – ALL 600 OF THEM!

The Redneck Maquiladora is Fired Up

This week hundreds of proud Texans descended on the best little stillhouse in Texas to start bottling the Spring 2014 Vintage of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Rebecca and Tom Henricks Plane 11940 Steerman Plane OverheadDistillery Ariel Shot

This semi-annual freak-show of bourbon-fueled bottlers never ceases to amaze me. The cast of characters is endless: television and movie actors, chili cooks, engineers, writers, oil and gas types, strippers, politicians, bank presidents, teachers, lobbyists, country music singers, truck drivers, chemists, novelists, former NASA space shuttle captains, and this year a Top Gun. No bullshit, just like Tom Cruise in the movie. (Read his bio here.)

The day after the Top Gun bottled, the crazy son-of-a-bitch — with his gorgeous country music singer wife flying co-pilot — conducted an unauthorized fly-by right over the stillhouse, literally trimming the trees, in his World War Two Vintage 1940 Steerman Biplane. It scared the snot out of us. He was so low that a well-thrown whiskey bottle could have taken out his plane.

And that was just week one.

But what really makes this gathering of nonconformists so interesting is that they’re all great people. Everyone has great stories, bad jokes and salacious toasts. They drink bourbon like blowfish but no one is ever over-served. We spend about seven hours together, laughing, dancing, singing and telling stories. By the end of the day, everyone has become friends.  Phone numbers and email addresses are exchanged. And everyone plans to get together again next time.

I have never met a bourbon drinker I did not like. I love these people.

Can’t wait to see what happens next week.

Spring-2014-Bottling---Dan-Signing Spring-2014-Bottling---Dipping Spring-2014-Bottling---Filling Spring-2014-Bottling---Inspect-1 Spring-2014-Bottling---Inspect-2 Spring-2014-Bottling---Laurel Spring-2014-Bottling---All-2 Spring-2014-Bottling---All

 

Now About The Bourbon in Those Bottles

The bourbon we are bottling as the Spring 2014 Vintage came from 262 barrels that have made their way around our property through an assortment of barrel barns. The mash was cooked, the beer was fermented, and barrels were filled with White Dog in 2010 and 2011.

January 2014 - Empty Barrel 2 January 2014 - Empty Barrel January 2014 - Fred Fork Lift January 2014 - Moving Barrel January 2014 - Moving Barrels January 2014 - Still 1

The barrels started out in one of our hotboxes in the northeast corner of the property. The bourbon in those barrels suffered through two years of brutal temperatures soaring to 125 degrees on hot summer days. At night we tried to cool the barrels down by opening up the doors to the containers and letting the barrels breathe. Often we left those doors open for a day or two. As a result, the barrels at each end of the container were practically empty, having suffered the worst of the Angel’s Share when they were exposed to direct sunlight. (For those unfamiliar with the term Angel’s Share, it refers to the bourbon that evaporates in vapor form through the walls of the barrel when it gets hot. We don’t get to drink the Angels Share until we get to heaven.)

The barrels were moved to our finishing barn in the summer of 2013 where they rested and relaxed for about seven months. In December, our master distiller Donnis Todd began tasting small samples from each barrel. He selected those that had a lighter, spicier profile for the Spring 2014 Release. He and I sat down together in January and compared notes. Bear in mind that neither of us has Jim Murray’s vocabulary, but we were quite pleased with the result:

Spring 2014 Tasting Notes

Reminiscent of hot summer days gone by in Hye, Texas.

Aroma is dry oak with light traces of cinnamon, peanut butter, dates and figs. Ticklish top-of-mouth taste revealing buttery toast, orange marmalade, redskin peanuts and baked raisins. Peppery but quick finish with cilantro and pequin chilis. Hot and spicy.

If you liked previous Spring Vintages, this one’s for you.

New York will get 3,000 bottles. Arizona will get 1,200 bottles. A few hundred bottles are already in Germany. And the lion’s share, as always, will be reserved for Texans. Come and take it!

Where Can I Drink This Stuff?

Today, our bourbon is showing up behind bars all over the state. It’s getting a reputation as the bourbon that the bartenders drink at the end of their shift.  So, it is just not possible for me to list all the Texas bars, hotels and restaurants that serve Garrison Brothers bourbon. For one thing, I have no idea who they are due to the four-tier distribution system in Texas that requires bars to buy their bourbon from liquor stores. I do know that if you’re traveling into or out of Texas by commercial jet, you’re in luck. Garrison Brothers is selling like crazy at Bubba’s Bayou Grill and Lefty’s Lone Star Grill at Houston Intercontinental Airport and will be available just in time for spring break at Reata, Sky Canyon, III Forks and Cool River Café at DFW airport.

However, if you visit our Facebook page, you’ll find hundreds of “Bourbon Behind Bars” postings. When our friends see a bottle in a bar, we ask them to take a picture of the bartender with the bottle and post it up there. It’s still a game of bourbon bottle bingo, but it’s a good place to start.

And if you head out one night and find a bar that does not serve Garrison Brothers, please insist that they start doing so immediately. You’re really helping us out when you do that. We have a staff of 6; so we just can’t be everywhere.

Garrison Brothers Single Barrel (From Hye, Texas)

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

Every 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.

Bob Stickney is An American Bad Ass!

January 2014 - Big Barrel Barn 2 January 2014 - Distillery Outside 1 January 2014 - Big Barrel Barn

A few years ago, I received a call from a retired gentleman from San Antonio who loves good bourbon. He politely asked if he could visit the distillery and take some pictures. “Of course,” I said. Since then Bob has been chronicling our growth and visiting often. Almost every picture I’ve ever included in this newsletter and on our website has come from Bob. If you like his work as much as I do and want to see more, please visit: http://www.stickneyphotography.com/

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 and Chris 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 spring and summer.

Kind regards,

dan-garrison-sig

 

Dan Garrison
Proprietor and Distiller

posted by admin in Spring 2014 Newsletter and have Comments (10)



Cowboy Bourbon from Garrison Brothers: American Micro Whiskey of the Year

GB-Jim-Murray-Image2

Author’s Note: This blog is dedicated to all the “professional investors” who, in the early 2000s, told me I’d never be able to make my own bourbon in Texas and should just buy it from a large producer like everyone else does. You sons-of-bitches will never know the pride I feel right now.

Yesterday, the 2014 edition of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible was released. For those who aren’t whiskey aficionados, the Whisky Bible is considered by many to be the definitive encyclopedia of whiskeys. Internationally recognized as probably the leading commentator on all the world’s whiskies, Mr. Murray tastes more than 4,500 bottlings from all over the world and provides unbiased tasting notes on the world’s leading and lesser known whiskies. Not afraid to express his views and loved by many for his uncompromising stance, Jim Murray’s tasting notes are full of fascinating facts, flavors and bottlings.

 In the 2014 Edition, Mr. Murray named
Cowboy Bourbon from Garrison Brothers
The American Micro Whiskey of the Year.

Those of you who searched all across Texas to find a bottle of Cowboy Bourbon, and paid a small fortune for it, well, you might want to hold on to those bottles. That bourbon just became quite valuable.

The Cowboy will ride again in 2015 but it’s unlikely future bottlings will ever rival the value of the little 375ml pre-release bottles you now possess.

As always, thank you for your support. God bless.

Kind regards,

dan-garrison-sig

 

Dan Garrison

Proprietor
Garrison Brothers Distillery

P.S. Mr. Murray’s 2014 Whisky Bible is available for purchase here: The 2014 Whisky Bible.

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Garrison Brothers™ Introduces Texas’ First Single Barrel Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Exclusively Available at Garrison Brothers Distillery in Hye, Texas

Garrison Brothers™ Single Barrel  Straight Bourbon WhiskeyNovember 1, Hye, Texas  – The bourbon whiskey makers at Garrison Brothers Distillery are pleased to announce the introduction of Garrison Brothers Single Barrel, the first single barrel straight bourbon whiskey ever made in Texas. Initially, these rare bottles will not be available at liquor stores; the bourbon will only be for sale at Garrison Brothers Distillery. Texas Senate Bill 905, recently passed unanimously by the Texas legislature, makes it possible for craft distilleries to now sell what they make. Visitors to Garrison Brothers Distillery may now purchase the Single Barrel and other Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskies at the distillery in Hye, Texas.

“For years, bourbon drinkers and collectors have been asking us to release a Single Barrel, and it’s high time we did. Senate Bill 905 was a great motivator…now we have something new to offer both old friends and first time distillery visitors alike,” said proprietor and distiller Dan Garrison. “We’re extremely proud of our bourbon, we love showing off what we do, and we’re excited to add Garrison Brothers Single Barrel to our stable of fine bourbons. We’re so confident of its quality, taste and character, we’ll put ours up against any Kentucky or Tennessee bourbon in a blind taste test.”

Each bottle of Single Barrel will be truly unique. Garrison Brothers’ master distiller Donnis Todd will select a new barrel from the barn every week. He will offer visitors his tasting notes for that specific barrel and fill a few special bottles — emblazoned with a silver Texas star, of course. Visitors to the distillery can dip the bottle they choose into silver wax and personalize it – college ring imprints, initials, personal notes – no two bottles will ever be the same. Each bottle will have the barrel number and bottle number hand-written on the side.

According to Garrison, “Making straight bourbon requires a commitment of time, money and patience that most craft distillers are unwilling to make. High-priced consultants and professional investor-types told us this could never be done. Well, it’s been done now.”

About Garrison Brothers Distillery

Founded in 2005, Garrison Brothers Distillery is Texas’ first and oldest whiskey distillery. When our bourbon was first introduced in 2010, Garrison Brothers’ Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey was the first whiskey ever legally made in Texas. And it is the first bourbon ever made outside of Kentucky or Tennessee, from corn to cork, at the Distillery. Our bourbon is also made entirely from organic grain. Garrison Brothers has since sold thousands of cases of our highly acclaimed bourbon whiskey.  Located in Hye, Texas, nestled in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, the business is owned by the Garrison family and a few friends. We are proud members of the communities of Blanco, Fredericksburg, Hye, Johnson City and Stonewall.

Garrison Brothers Distillery is open to the public for tours and special events. State law prohibits the distillery from selling bottles on Sundays. For more information, please visit us at www.garrisonbros.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  For media materials, photographs and interviews, please contact Dan Garrison.

posted by admin in Blog and have Comments (9)