In 1823, when Stephen F. Austin established his original land grant from Spanish governor Antonio Maria Martinez, the first 300 families to move to homesteads in Texas along the Brazos, Colorado and San Bernard Rivers were known as The Old 300. Many of these brave adventurers -- who traded scalps with Comanche, Apache and Karankawa Indians – were tough immigrant moonshiners from Trans-Appalachian South states such as Kentucky and Tennessee.
The symbolism of this story is not lost on us here at Garrison Brothers.
Garrison Brothers Distillery is the trade-name for Lone Star Distillery, LLC. Lone Star Distillery, LLC is the operator.
Bourbon Camps are casual, weekend-long bourbon seminars hosted by the bourbon makers at Garrison Brothers Distillery. Participants will learn how bourbon is made and make bourbon themselves alongside distillery staff. Each evening, when work is complete, bourbon-related entertainment such as tastings and dinners, will be provided.
Bourbon Camps will be offered twice a year, once in February and once in September. Old 300 guests will arrive Friday evening for a Sunset Supper and Bourbon Tasting at the Distillery. Saturday, after an early morning Cowboy Breakfast, we will cook mash and make distiller’s beer until noon when we’ll break for a catered lunch. Saturday afternoon we’ll distill a previously fermented small batch and make white dog. Saturday evening we’ll dine in Fredericksburg, Blanco or Johnson City and have another bourbon tasting. On Sunday, we will barrel from our white dog tank and move the barrels into the barn. Guests may depart any time after noon on Sunday.
Bourbon Camp dates will be announced in fulfillment packages mailed to members after they join. Participation in Bourbon Camps is offered on a first come, first served basis. All participants must sign a liability waiver and indemnity release before they arrive. Due to space limitations and safety concerns, no more than ten Old 300 Members can participate in each camp. If demand is high enough to merit additional Bourbon Camps, more will be added during the year.
The Distillery will reserve a block of rooms at a nice hotel or bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg and will provide all meals and beverages during the weekend. However, due to state laws governing distilled spirits manufacturer’s marketing practices, all lodging expenses and travel expenses to and from the Distillery are The Old 300 member’s responsibility. For the safety of participants, the Distillery will provide regular shuttles between the Fredericksburg hotel and the Distillery.
We are currently producing about 12 barrels of bourbon a week. Once the barrels are filled, they begin a maturation process that can take years. Roughly 150 barrels are already maturing in our barns. Our proprietor takes samples from the barrels periodically to determine the quality and the state of maturation of the bourbon. We are hopeful the first cases of Garrison Brothers will be in stores some time in 2011.
Only 300 members will be accepted each calendar year.
There are two types of memberships:
- Founding Members – The original 2009 class of The Old 300
- Charter Members – All subsequent members of The Old 300
We have not been able to find anything similar to what we have in mind. The closest approximation is a beverage cooler available from the King Ranch Saddle Shop, which retails for around $750.00. Other bourbon barrel dispensers retail for as little as $179.00. Used bourbon barrels that have not been improved can be acquired on the open market for as little as $35. We are working on a prototype of the dispenser at the distillery now.
No problem at all. We’re happy to send you the barrel as is. However, we should warn you that empty used barrels eventually become dry and begin to fall apart if they are not rehydrated with liquid. When the staves dry, they shrink and the steel hoops become loose. If the barrel is not stained and varnished, and the hoops are not secured, the barrel will eventually fall apart.
Our barrels are valuable. We have received dozens of solicitations to sell them individually or in bulk. Most inquirers just want a keepsake – a piece of Texas history -- but others want to use them to make home-made beer or wine. Used bourbon barrels are used all over the world for aging wine, beer and spirits. The unique nature and authenticity of Garrison Brothers’ barrels make them highly sought after collectors’ items.
The barrel deposit is returned to The Old 300 member at the conclusion of their membership (after five years) along with their personally selected bourbon barrel. The barrel and the deposit are our way of saying thanks for helping us get the business off the ground. Though the refunded deposit is the sole property of the member and can be used however the member wants to use it, we are hopeful some or all of it will be used to buy our bourbon.
When my bourbon barrel is emptied and the bourbon inside is bottled, will the bourbon be sent to me?
No. Texas state law prohibits a distilled spirits manufacturer from selling their product directly to consumers. Texas has a three tier distribution system: A manufacturer must sell to a distributor; a distributor can sell to a packaged goods store; and a packaged goods store can sell to a bar, restaurant, retailer or consumer. These laws were established after Prohibition was repealed to assure that distilled spirits production could be controlled and to assure that the government can collect tax revenues.
We intend to send the bourbon from the member’s barrel to a permitted retail store located near the member’s home and to have the permitted retailer hold it for purchase. We will notify the member when it is shipped.
We are in the process of meeting with distributors and packaged goods stores to arrange distribution agreements. Though we have not signed an agreement with anyone yet, we have been told repeatedly that the packaged goods stores are happy to hold product for customers if we request it. Our intention is to gain distribution at respected retail stores throughout Texas and we plan to ship the bourbon designated for our Old 300 members to stores in the vicinity of their homes.
Yes. The bourbon business is subject to extensive laws and regulations. Entering the alcohol industry is no easy task and can take years. Applicants for ownership of distilled spirits plants are subject to background checks, personal financial analysis and a remarkable amount of scrutiny.
The program has been designed so that members can enjoy membership privileges which do not require members to be licensed or otherwise qualified to own, manage or control a distilled spirits plant. Such qualification could include, but is not limited to, members providing fingerprints and personal financial information to the local, state and federal regulatory agencies that oversee distilled spirits production and distribution.
The company has established various rules and regulations intended to ensure ongoing compliance with applicable beverage laws and regulations as well as local land use regulations. Those rules and regulations may change from time to time at the company’s sole discretion, including as deemed necessary by the company to ensure compliance with all applicable, federal, state and local laws. Membership and membership activities are subject to the company’s distillery use permit and to all other applicable laws and regulations, which are extensive and can and do change from time to time. The company reserves the absolute right to adjust or modify the membership program to take account of any and all applicable laws, regulations, and/or actual or possible company or member licensing or other legal requirements. If a member is required to be licensed or otherwise qualified by any government agency which oversees distillery operations, the member will have the option of terminating his/her membership with a refund of deposits or dues set forth in the membership plan. Similarly, if any government agency or authority determines for any reason that a particular member’s membership is not permitted by law, the company may terminate such member’s membership at any time with a refund of deposits and dues as set forth in the membership plan.
Membership in The Old 300 admits one into to an exclusive association of individuals who will help the company write Texas bourbon-making history. Membership is a bourbon education and enjoyment program. Once members of The Old 300 better understand how Garrison Brothers’ fine bourbon is made, they will become our statewide ambassadors, helping the company spread the word about the bourbon to thirsty Texans. By participating, they will be supporting the advancement of their own homegrown bourbon distillery. Specific membership privileges include:
- Participation in Bourbon Camp in Hye - an invitation to join us at Garrison Brothers Distillery for an insider’s look at making fine bourbon
- An opportunity to make and barrel bourbon yourself
- Your own authentic Garrison Brothers American oak bourbon barrel
- Advance invitations to private Bourbon Tastings and Dinners at some of the finest steakhouses, restaurants and bars in Texas
- A custom, one-of-a-kind glass-framed plaque recognizing membership in The Old 300
- Family and guest distillery visitation privileges
- A semi-annual newsletter from the distillery
- Advance opportunity to purchase tickets to concerts and events held at the distillery
- Advance information about special bottling release dates and special vintages
- Your name, membership term, and membership number engraved on a permanent plaque at the distillery
If you want to own that bourbon, yes. Texas state law prohibits a distilled spirits manufacturer from selling or giving their product directly to consumers, even if they are members. Texas has a three tier distribution system: A manufacturer must sell to a distributor; a distributor can sell to a packaged goods store; and a packaged goods store can sell to a bar, restaurant, retailer or consumer. These laws were established after Prohibition was repealed to assure that distilled spirits production could be controlled and to assure that the government can collect tax revenues.
Funds raised from The Old 300 membership program will be used by the company at its sole discretion. Much of the funding will be used to cover the costs of the program. These include printing, promotions and marketing member benefits, the costs of meals and events at the distillery for members, as well as the production and shipping costs of the member’s bourbon barrel dispenser. The barrel reservation deposit funds will be held by the company until the member’s membership has expired (five years after joining) and will be returned then along with the member’s barrel.
The distillery is not yet publicly open for tours and special events. Tours are available upon request but must be scheduled in advance. When the bourbon has sufficiently matured for bottling in 2010, 2011 or 2012 and distribution is underway across Texas, we plan to begin hosting two events a year at the Distillery. The spring event will be an outdoor afternoon picnic for Old 300 members and local residents. In the fall, we’re planning outdoor concerts. More information on dates, details and entertainers will be provided as we get closer to these dates.
Yes. A significant element of the marketing and promotion of Garrison Brothers Texas Bourbon Whiskey will involve special bourbon tastings and bourbon dinners at renowned restaurants throughout Texas. As these events are scheduled, invitations will be extended to Old 300 members prior to extending invitations to the general public.
Originally, our intention was to regularly convene members of the Old 300 for periodic tasting panels, where they would be the first Texans to nose, taste and evaluate each year’s production of Garrison Brothers Texas Bourbon Whiskey. Unfortunately, Texas state law prohibits sampling by distillers. We’re working on changing that law. In the meantime, we will rely heavily on counsel from The Old 300 as we conceptualize, market and distribute our bourbon.
Old 300 members, once they have received an extensive education on the making of fine bourbon, will become our ambassadors statewide and worldwide. We intend for Old 300 members to be actively involved in significant decisions affecting the growth of the business.Our proprietor will occasionally ask Old 300 members to evaluate: new whiskey profiles and bottlings that are being considered; planned bottle and label designs; planned distillery events; and proposed marketing ideas. Additionally, their counsel as to retailers, restaurants and bars that we will approach for distribution will be critical to the business as distribution of Garrison Brothers Texas Bourbon Whiskey expands.
The responsibilities of Old 300 members are as follows:
- Enjoy the finest bourbon ever made anywhere -- ours
- Visit the distillery and select a barrel
- Drink our bourbon responsibly and encourage others to do so as well
- Recruit other Old 300 members
- Ask bar and restaurant owners, managers and bartenders to request Garrison Brothers from their distributor
- Contact Dan Garrison immediately if you ever hear anyone with negative opinions of Garrison Brothers’ bourbon. We want to know why.
As this program grows, the company reserves the right to add or remove elements based on their popularity with members.