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 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.
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!
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. Â 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.
PARTNERSHIP 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
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.
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.
The 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, thanks for your support.