Badges? We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges.
According to Chapter 6 of the ominous Federal Code of Regulations regarding alcohol, there are “prescribed standards of fill” to which all distilleries must adhere. The only approved bottle sizes for distilled spirits bottled in the United States are: 1.75 Liters, 1 Liter, 750 ml, 375 ml, 200 ml, 100 ml and 50 ml.
The TABC code is even stranger here in Texas, where if you go to a liquor store and buy a teeny little 50ml bottle, you are required by law to buy two. Apparently, decades ago some legislator decided your buzz should endure for 44 seconds instead of 22.
If you are like me, these dictates sound like ”rules.” Personally, I can’t stand rules. In fact, I hate them so much that I spend every waking hour trying to bend the rules to benefit my business. Our master distiller Donnis Todd can’t stand rules either. So, the two of us came up with a way to get around the rules.
Let’s say, for example, every week a customer was to tell me he wants to buy a barrel of my bourbon. Not just a bottle … but an entire barrel. Were I to adhere to the above rule, it would be illegal for me to sell him that barrel.
Fortunately, rules are really just signposts along the way and there’s almost always a way around them. That is why it is with great pleasure that I am proud to introduce Garrison Brothers Single Barrel Bourbon, sold by the barrel and only by the barrel. This one breaks all the rules.
Here’s how it works: In 2011, we set aside 342 of the finest tasting, highest quality bourbon barrels on the ranch. We let those barrels mature in the Texas heat for three blistering years.
Then we started inviting Texans and other bourbon lovers to come out to the distillery and pick out a barrel. We give these visitors a little taste from a few select barrels and they decide which one they want.
Then we invite them to come back out a few weeks later and bottle the bourbon from their barrel. Once the bourbon is bottled, we ship the bourbon and the barrel to their local liquor store.
We thought it was a pretty cool idea. Others did too. Our good friend Mike Raymond who owns Reserve 101 in Houston, which has one of the state’s largest selections of fine bourbon whiskies, loved the idea. He was the first person to jump on board. His barrel has been bottled and is on the way to his bar right now. The bourbon from that barrel is exquisite. Every bottle he’ll receive has a special silver sticker that says “Hand-selected by master distiller Donnis Todd for Reserve 101.”
But Mike is not alone. Barrels are also en route to Saglimbeni’s Fine Wine and Spirits in San Antonio, where wonderful, friendly people gather each Saturday for tastings. Joe sent his entire staff out to select a barrel.
The Gaylord Texan in Grapevine reserved a barrel for their Silver Bar. Specs and Sigels ordered barrels. Twin Liquors and Goody Goody ordered barrels. Harley’s in Longview ordered barrels. Longhorn Liquor in Lumberton ordered a barrel. H&H/Costco ordered barrels. Western Beverage ordered barrels. Total Wine and More ordered a hundred barrels.
You should start seeing these beautiful bottles in stores any day now.
What’s most interesting about this program is that every barrel is unique. Every barrel has its own personality. Every barrel yields a slightly different flavor profile.
So, want your own barrel of bourbon? It WILL set you back a little. We estimate that each barrel will yield between 48 and 81 bottles and the suggested retail price is $109.99 per bottle. (Of course, each retailer will mark it up as they see fit; we can’t control that.) But you’re probably looking at $5,300 to $8,900 per barrel depending on the Angel’s Share losses during maturation.
If you want your own barrel of Garrison Brothers Single Barrel Bourbon, all you have to do is fill out this form and take it to your local liquor store. As of the date of this newsletter, just 99 barrels remain. They are sold “first-come-first served.” When they’re gone, they’re gone forever.
Rumors of our demise…
… have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, this little business did something in 2014 we’ve never done before. We turned a small profit. Seriously. And it only took us 11 years.
The profit may be tiny — not even enough to buy a bottle of our bourbon – but that’s okay. We’re damn proud to have reached this milestone. We want to say thanks to each and every one of you who bought a bottle of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey. We could not have done it without your support.
And to all the venture capitalists and professional investors who told me it could never be done, you may now kiss my redneck ass!
Going. Going. Gone
Texas is and always will be home for us. And we are deeply indebted to all the Texans who put our bourbon on the map.
But in 2014, we decided to step outside our backyard a little. Today, Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Tennessee and Washington DC.
If you live in one of these states and haven’t seen a bottle on the shelf yet, please be patient with us. This is all so new that we don’t even know yet which retailers and bars are serving Garrison Brothers. If you wouldn’t mind asking your local retailer or bartender to bring in some Garrison Brothers, we’d sure appreciate the help.
We have not forgotten the American bad-asses who are stationed all over the world defending our country either. In 2014, we entered into a distribution agreement with EURPAC, a distributor that supplies American military bases, through which our bourbon is being distributed at U.S. military bases all over the world. Now, when American servicemen and servicewomen get to take their boots off after a long day, they can finish the day with a glass of good bourbon.
And I can promise that my brother Charlie, our master distiller Donnis Todd, and I are wearing out our own boots spreading the Garrison Brothers gospel. If we haven’t been to your store or bar yet, we will get there, and we look forward to meeting you.
Speaking of the Gospel, We Could Use Some Help Spreading It
If you have spent any time with our family in Hye, you’ve probably noticed we’re a pretty tight-knit group. We take care of our own. We take our corporate culture and core values seriously. For this reason, it makes me nervous as hell to bring on new people.
But growth is growth. And God knows we need the help. So, we are looking for new blood. There are two specific areas where we need help:
Bourbon Evangelists – If you believe in bourbon — real, authentic handmade bourbon — and love drinking it and talking about it, then we want to talk to you. We intend to hire and train at least four full-time people who will be Garrison Brothers Bourbon Evangelists. We’re looking immediately for help in Texas, California, Florida, New York and Illinois.
This business is all about relationships. A successful Bourbon Evangelist will be responsible for sales, sales support and brand building within a defined region. Our evangelists will be professional, honest and passionate about the brand and the customers we serve. Uncompromising ethics are a must. An Evangelist will call on accounts daily, create and staff events, train distributors, teach servers and earn the support of the local distributor’s sales teams.
Bourbon Evangelists will be expected to interact successfully with individuals ranging from retail store salespeople to restaurant owners and chain restaurant executives.
You will learn the job by training with our hospitality and production teams at the distillery in Hye. When they tell me you’re ready, you’ll hit the road with my brother and me for a few weeks. When we are sure you’re ready, we’ll set you free in your own territory. Bear in mind, this position is not for the faint of heart. There will be a ton of travel and we always write thank you notes.
Hospitality in Hye – We recently lost two of our favorite people who decided to pursue other careers. We’ve also recently opened a gift shop that is open seven days a week. At the same time we’re expanding the number and scope of the events we host in Hye. As a result, we need some help at the distillery in Hye. The job is part tour guide, part gift shop attendant, and part educator.
If you like the idea of getting your hands dirty, and if you are comfortable greeting crowds and can do so with a warm, Texas smile on your face, this might be the spot for you.
If these positions sounds intriguing, you can read the full job descriptions below. Instructions for applying are there as well.
- Garrison Brothers Distillery – Bourbon Evangelist
- Garrison Brothers Distillery – Hospitality Assistant
Texas Country Reporter – We’re On The Air
Each time I watch Texas Country Reporter with Bob Phillips, it brings back youthful memories of growing up in Houston. I can remember waking up on a weekend and the entire family would watch CBS News Sunday Mornings with Charles Kuralt. There was also Eyes of Texas with KPRC’s Ron Stone.
Like these great journalists before him, Bob Phillips is a masterful storyteller. So it was our great pleasure to have Bob and his crew come bottle bourbon with us last fall. And, as always, Bob managed to capture well the essence of the Garrison Brothers family in his segment on us that is airing across the state now.
Please give us 5 minutes to watch this:
The Road Goes On Forever
If you’ve taken the time to visit the events page at www.garrisonbros.com, then you’re aware that when we’re not in Hye distilling or bottling bourbon, our staff is out on the road sharing our bourbon with new friends in faraway places.
If you are one of those strange people who does not tire of our worn out bullshit, please come have a drink with us. Here are a few upcoming events where we can all get together for a drink.
- Single Barrel Tasting Party with Dan Garrison and Mike Raymond at Reserve 101 in Houston – Tuesday, April 7 from 6:30 to 9.
- Bourbon Pairing Dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Dallas with general manager Chris Petruska – Wednesday, June 10, 2015 from 6 to 9 pm
To make reservations and for a complete list of all the fandangos we have planned this spring and summer, please visit www.garrisonbros.com/garrison-brothers-events. All these events will sell out quickly.
Back at the Ranch
If you can’t find Garrison Brothers at a bar or store near your home, you can always come drink with us in Hye. You can smell and taste the corn cooking; walk through the fermentation rooms; nose and taste the “White Dog”; sample a little bourbon from one of our releases; and ask all the questions you want. Trail bosses Stephanie, Chris and Shine will make you feel right at home.
We offer tours and tastings Wednesday through Sunday at 10, noon, 2 and 4. Reservations can be made here: http://www.garrisonbros.com.
And our new gift shop – the Hye Atop Bottle Shop — is open seven days a week. Mondays and Tuesday until 4. Every other day we are open until 5.
Finally, you don’t have to come all the way to Hye to pick up some Garrison Brothers gear. We’ve launched Garrison Brothers’ Dry Goods Store. There you’ll find t-shirts, whiskey nosing glasses, hats, bumper stickers and cool bourbon shit.
Thanks for staying with us to the end. Vaya con Dios. Have a great spring and summer and Drink Texas Bourbon!
Proprietor and Distiller