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Whiskey and Politics

If you’ve ever paid a visit to Garrison Brothers Distillery, we hope we’ve been good hosts. We show you how we make bourbon. We tell some stories. We share our bourbon.

At the end of the visit, we always hear the same question: Why can’t I buy a bottle of your bourbon? Then we’re forced to go into a long-winded explanation of the three-tier system in Texas, antiquated liquor laws and prohibition era politics.

We’d like your help to do something about that.

Senate Bill 995, which would permit Texas craft distilleries to sell a single souvenir bottle to adult distillery visitors, passed the Texas Senate business and commerce committee with a highly favorable 7-0 vote last week. This week it reached the Senate floor and passed with a vote of 31 for and 0 against!

Now the bill has reached the House Licensing & Administrative Procedures (L&AP) Committee, where it may be stalled. But we’ve only got a week or so to get it out on the floor of the house for a vote. Otherwise, the bill dies in committee.

Here’s where we’d like your help: If you agree that this bill is good for Texas tourism, good for Texas agriculture and good for the state economy (we’ll pay taxes on every bottle we sell), please consider contacting your state representative, or the representatives who sit on this committee, and let them know how you feel about Senate Bill 995.

You can find your state representative’s contact information by Googling “whorepresentsme” or you can contact the members of the L&AP Committee at the email addresses listed below.

If you decide to reach out to them, please be courteous. Few people today are willing to enter public service. We need them and they deserve our respect and admiration.

We appreciate your support. Please come visit again soon.

Honorable Representative Chente Quintanilla chente.quintanilla@house.state.tx.us

Honorable Representative Senfronia Thompson senfronia.thompson@house.state.tx.us

Honorable Representative Jose Menendez: jose.menendez@house.state.tx.us

Honorable Representative John Kuempel: john.kuempel@house.state.tx.us

Honorable Representative Patricia Harless: patricia.harless@house.state.tx.us

Honorable Representative Roland Gutierrez: roland.gutierrez@house.state.tx.us

Honorable Representative Charlie Geren:
charlie.geren@house.state.tx.us

Honorable Representative Joe Driver:
joe.driver@house.state.tx.us

Honorable Representative Mike Hamilton (chair): mike.hamilton@house.state.tx.us

posted by Dan Garrison in Spring 2010 Newsletter and have Comments (8)

Sipping and Signing

Rumor has it that our bourbon has reached a few fine liquor stores, bars and restaurants in Austin and San Antonio. Thanks to everyone who bought a bottle. We appreciate the support. 

If you’re buying your bottle as a gift and would like a personal note on the back of the recipient’s bottle, I will be visiting these fine stores soon and would be happy to write one. Come on down. Bring your bottle. Would love to meet you.

  • Twin Liquors, Dripping Springs – Thursday, March 24 at 5
  • Hill Country Liquors, Blanco – Friday, March 25 at 10
  • Western Beverage, Fredericksburg – Friday, March 25 at noon
  • Judy’s, Fredericksburg – Friday, March 25 at 2
  • Twin Liquors, Hill Country Galleria, Austin – Saturday, April 2 at 4
posted by Dan Garrison in Spring 2010 Newsletter and have Comments (3)

Cowboy’d Up!

If this doesn’t prove we live in the greatest country in America, I don’t know what could:

Within 24 hours of the call for bottling volunteers, we filled every open slot we had available for February. Since this seems to be kind of popular, we’ll do it again later this year and will let you know dates soon.

God bless you and thank you Texas!

posted by Dan Garrison in Spring 2010 Newsletter and have Comments (5)

Want To Help Bottle Some Bourbon?

Want to try something no one in Texas has ever done before?

In February, we’ll be bottling our largest bourbon release ever – more than 80 barrels of our straight bourbon will be emptied into stainless steel tanks, married with crisp, clean rainwater, proofed and entered into bottles. Each hand-numbered and signed bottle is sealed with a cork, wrapped in deerskin lace, and then dipped in hot wax. These bottles will be sold throughout the Hill Country and a few hundred cases will be distributed to fine liquor stores, bars and restaurants in the big cities. (We can’t say where just yet.)

We thought a few of you might like to come to Hye and give us a hand.

A word of warning: Bottling at Garrison Brothers is not for the faint of heart! It means hard work, careful attention to detail, reliable, consistent help, and above all else, patience. Every finished bottle has to get past Inspector Number 1 — me. To get a glimpse of what I mean, please take a look at this 5 minute video our good friend Rob Cordes put together: http://gallery.me.com/robcordes/100000.

We’ll be bottling from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday thru Friday, the weeks of February 7, February 14 and February 28. We need 8 people each day and already have about 40 sensational volunteers. We provide meals, beverages and plenty of bourbon throughout the day. (In fact, tradition holds that we celebrate with a little “quality control” sample every time we finish 200 bottles.)

If you’d like to take part, it will take us a couple of hours to train you, so we ask those who participate to commit to work two full days. At the end of your shift, we’ll reward you with your own bottle to take home with you.

If you can handle your own travel arrangements, and commit to giving us two days hard work, please send an email to Laurel Hoekstra, our Bottling Queen, at laurel@garrisonbros.com and give her your contact information and the 2 days you can work. The deadline for contacting her is Sunday, January 16, so that we can invite others to fill all the slots.

As always, thanks for your support!

posted by Dan Garrison in Spring 2010 Newsletter and have Comment (1)

Houston, We Have A Problem

The big, industrial  beer, wine and liquor companies spend millions annually responsibly encouraging “moderation.”  Apparently, in Texas, the word ain’t getting out!

On Wednesday, November 3, 2010 — three days before opening day of deer season — liquor stores in the Texas Hill Country received hundreds of cases of the 2008 Vintage of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Ten days later, every bottle had been sold. Yeah, liquor stores are all sold out, again.

The 2008 Vintage

The 2008 Vintage

Years and years of hard work … gone in a swirl of road dirt and the sweet smell of gun smoke.

If you weren’t able to get your hands on a bottle, don’t panic; I’m told almost all the bars and restaurants in the Fredericksburg area bought plenty and are serving Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Thanks for your support, Texas. We appreciate it.

We’ll go make some more.

posted by Dan Garrison in Spring 2010 Newsletter and have Comments (29)

Sipping and Signing

Hye SocietyThanks to everyone who has already reserved a bottle or plans to. The liquor stores don’t tell me how well the bourbon is selling or how much they have left. But I do spend an inordinate amount of time in liquor stores, and I hear things.

If you’re buying your bottle as a gift and would like a special note on the recipient’s bottle, I will be at these fine stores later this week.

Come on down. Would love to meet you.

  • Hye Spirits in Hye – Wednesday, Nov. 3 from 5 to 7 pm
  • Western Beverage in Fredericksburg – Friday, Nov. 5 from 10 to noon
  • Hill Country Liquors in Blanco – Friday, Nov. 5 from 12:30 to 2:30 pm
  • Judy’s Liquors in Fredericksburg – Saturday, Nov. 6 from 4 to 5 pm
posted by Dan Garrison in Spring 2010 Newsletter and have Comments (13)

KXAN Business News Story

Since no one seems to watch television any more, I wanted y’all to see a nice story that KXAN reporter Jaqueline Ingles did about the distillery yesterday. Though a few minor facts are off, she did a “really nice” piece, and we enjoyed showing her around.

Please forward to your bourbon drinking friends.
KXAN Business News Story

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/handmade-texas-bourbon-hits-hillco

posted by Dan Garrison in Spring 2010 Newsletter and have Comments (2)

TEXAS BOURBON NEWS, Spring 2010

Traditionally, I’ve sent this newsletter out on Texas Independence Day (March 2). This one’s a little pre-mature — but there’s good reason for that:

I have always promised those who read my newsletter that they would be the first to know when and where they could get a bottle. Now I’ve lived up to that promise.

INTRODUCING GARRISON BROTHERS TEXAS BOURBON WHISKEY

Garrison Brothers Prerelease Bottle

INTRODUCING GARRISON BROTHERSâ„¢ TEXAS BOURBON WHISKEY

Garrison Brothers Distillery, the first and only pure bourbon whiskey distillery in Texas, is pleased to announce the pre-release of 1,000 bottles of the first bourbon whiskey ever made in the great state of Texas.

This unique small batch bourbon is composed of a few superior barrels I personally selected from our distillery’s growing inventory of aging barrels. Each bottle will be hand-filled, numbered and signed. It is an unfiltered, 100-proof, one-year-old that will come in a 375-ml half-bottle with a suggested retail price of under $50 a bottle.

We produced just 125 barrels in 2008. A few have matured more quickly than the rest. So before we start selling bourbon elsewhere, we’re going to tap these early bloomers and share them with our friends and neighbors in the Hill Country.

Locals Only Gift Box

Five hundred bottles from this first bottling run have been reserved for Texans who have been friends and supporters of ours over the past half-decade. These first bottles are for the Blanco and Gillespie County electricians, plumbers, masons and construction workers who helped us build the distillery. They deserve the first taste. We’ll give these away as gifts. A few dozen will also go to key mentors and friends in Kentucky.

If you let the Pre-release bourbon breathe before you take your first pour, you’ll discover a surprisingly complex nose of gun smoke, caramel, dried cherries, figs, and apricots. But don’t let the sweetness fool you. This rebel has a well rounded finish that’s crisp, with a little bit of sizzle.

The 1,000 bottles that aren’t given away will be distributed to local liquor stores in Blanco and Gillespie Counties on Texas Independence Day (Tuesday, March 2). That’s why I’m telling you about it now.

If you want a bottle, you should contact liquor stores in Blanco and Gillespie Counties (Blanco, Fredericksbrug, Hye and Johnson City) quickly. Many of the stores out here already have started waiting lists. On Monday, a press release announcing the introduction goes out statewide. I’m fairly sure the bottles will sell out by the end of the day.

Please consider buying two bottles; one to hold onto and one to enjoy. Those bottles you hold onto might be pretty valuable some day.

FLAGSHIP BOTTLE, APPROVED AND ORDERED!

Signature 2008 Vintage

Signature 2008 Vintage

With help from our Old 300 Members, in the spring of 2009, we were able to nail down a final bottle design for Garrison Brothers Flagship Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Unfortunately, that’s the easy part of getting a bottle made.  We still had to obtain approval of the design from the Federal Tax and Trade Bureau and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. We had to identify a manufacturing plant, bottle decoration plant, printers and costs for all of the above. I’m happy to report that this effort is complete. The feds and the state have approved our bottle and I have issued a check.

We will have 40,000 of the flagship bottles in Hye and ready to be filled by June. We will begin filling these bottles in the early fall with our 2008 Signature Vintage and will release 250-plus cases to a distributor, and on to liquor stores, in the fall of 2010.

Yes, our flagship — Garrison Brothers™ Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey — will be on liquor store shelves throughout Texas by Christmas!

Our Signature 2008 Vintage is the smoothest bourbon whiskey I’ve ever tasted. In just over a year, it had matured into a handsome spirit with more taste, sophistication, and elegance than we had ever hoped to achieve.  It has a rich velvety nose of caramel, butterscotch, vanilla, nutmeg, and coconut. But the real character is revealed in the finish — long, smooth, and buttery, like warm caramelized sugar crackling and melting across your tongue.

I have a few friends who would love a case for the holidays. How about you? If so, please tell your local liquor store owner or your favorite bar, hotel or restaurant manager to reserve a few cases for you. These, too, will go quickly.

RNDC-LogoPARTNERSHIP WITH REPUBLIC NATIONAL DISTRIBUTING COMPANY

In January, we entered into a long-term distribution agreement with Republic National Distributing Company. Republic is the second largest distributor of distilled spirits in the United States. Reaching an agreement like this — one that appeals to both companies — was a major milestone for our little business. We want to thank Republic for making a big leap of faith in bringing our small company onto their roster. We also want to thank the many Republic personnel who worked to make the deal happen. We look forward to a long, profitable and mutually rewarding partnership.

BARREL BARN UNO

Barn Construction 030

Expansion is well underway at the distillery and I could not be happier with the progress.

We started construction of our Showcase Barrel Barn (Barrel Barn Uno) in December and it is almost complete. Now we’re building the ricks (barrel racks) inside that will hold the barrels.

BarnRicks2

When complete, this barn will be capable of housing more than 1,600 barrels. That’s more than 80,000 bottles of bourbon. For the financial geeks out there, who might be keeping score at home, that bourbon will have a retail value of, well, lots.

Fred, Donnis and I have set a ridiculous, unrealistic and audacious goal of filling that barn with premium barrels of our outstanding bourbon by the end of 2010. It will take a miracle to make it happen, but then, miracles are what we’re all about.

Once the ricks are complete, we’ll clean the place up a little and send along some photographs of the finished barn. I think you’ll like it.
Barn Construction 070The next steps in the expansion plan are to build a new kitchen, a visitors center, and then to install our new boilers and stills. With any luck, phase one will be complete by year’s end, and the distillery will be capable of producing enough bourbon to meet statewide demand, and also begin selling our fine bourbon elsewhere. We’ll be talking to a few well-heeled friends in the next few weeks to see if they’d like to play a role.

GARRISON BROTHERS’ DRY GOODS STORE

Every month we’re cooking 20,000 pounds of the most expensive corn in the world and we’re filling 50 slow-growth northern American Oak barrels with our fine bourbon. So, yeah, we’re still burning through some cash.

If you’re willing, we’d like your help offsetting some of these expenses by buying a Garrison Brothers Distillery DRINK TEXAS BOURBON bumper sticker or T-shirt. We’ve launched Garrison Brothers’ Dry Goods Store on-line and you’ll find some nice Garrison Brothers Gear there.

Please take a look and consider buying something. Each time you buy something there it enables us to make more bourbon.

JOIN THE OLD 300!

If you really want to get involved, consider joining our ambassador association, The Old 300. Old 300 Members help spread the word statewide about our bourbon, letting bartenders, hotel managers and retail store owners know that they should carry Garrison Brothers. What’s more, Old 300 Members have pretty much free run of the distillery premises and buildings for tours, tastings, camping, hunting, special events and our annual Bourbon Camps. They also get to make their own bourbon and they’ll own their own barrel.

If you choose to join at Join The Old 300, I can personally guarantee you’ll soon know more about fine bourbon whiskey than anyone else in Texas and you’ll have a great time learning.

THE BOURBON BLOG

HyeSunset

For months now, my kids, wife and friends have been hounding me to spend more time “social networking” on Facebook, Twitter and their ilk.

Well, I don’t Twit, I hate networking and I can’t stand being social. Really, I don’t like people all that much. Rednecks, dogs and livestock are more trustworthy and rarely take offense.

Nevertheless, I’ll start making my private rants public next month. We’ll discuss bourbon, business, bullshitting and bureaucracy. You can subscribe at www.garrisonbros.com.

TOURS AND TASTINGS

The distillery will be closed for tastings and tours for a while so we can focus on barreling, building and bottling. Once we get everything cleaned up, we’ll open up to the public again on March 4. To schedule a tour, please email us at sitandsip@garrisonbros.com

As always, thanks for your support.

Kind Regards,

dan garrison

posted by Dan Garrison in Spring 2010 Newsletter and have Comments (16)