We were recently lucky enough to get our hands on the increasingly popular Garrison Brothers’ Cowboy Bourbon. This year’s 2019 release of Cowboy Bourbon was limited to 6,440 bottles, which we heard sold out at their Texas distillery in a record 58 minutes. After we had a chance to uncork (Or unbox, if you will, since this does come in a box), it was easy to see what all the hype is about. We got in touch with Garrison Brothers' Idea Distiller, Sam Wakefield, to ask a few questions and better understand their Texas based distillery.
A&O: With American’s growing love for bourbon, it only makes sense that quality distilleries like Garrison Bro's are making a name for themselves outside of Kentucky. Do you see being geographically removed from the stereotypical bourbon country as a challenge or a benefit?
GB: Both. There is a common misconception that bourbon has to come from Kentucky. This keeps some people from wanting to branch out and expand their bourbon experience. We benefit from the scorching Texas heat which dramatically impacts the way our spirit interacts with the barrel.
A&O: Garrison Bro's is Texas' first "Legal Bourbon Distillery". What was the process to make that "legal bourbon"?
GB: Filing our State and Federal paperwork – we know there were a lot of bootleg operations before us, but we were the first to do it legally.
Arial view of Garrison Brother's Hye, Texas Distillery
A&O: What is the process like for selecting and blending barrels to create a final product such as this Cowboy Bourbon? We imagine this like being a kid in a candy store - not sure what to choose. Blending most definitely seems like an art form and one that Garrison Bro's is perfecting.
GB: Cowboy Bourbon is a selection of Dan Garrison (founder) and Donnis Todd’s (master distiller) favorite barrels on the ranch. They these barrels aside over the years as they encounter them – These typically age for a couple of years longer than other barrels on the ranch.
A&O: Your following is certainly growing quickly. Is ramping up production on a product that takes years to make/age as difficult as it seems?
GB: We worked with Vendome Copper and Brass works to get a 2000-gallon copper pot still installed in early 2018 as well as several new fermentation vessels – this effectively doubled our production capacity and we are now distilling around the clock to keep up with demand. So to answer the question, yes, it is difficult but our production team is well up for the challenge under the leadership of our master distiller, Donnis Todd.
A&O: It looks like you also have some awesome cocktails on the menu at your distillery. As much as we appreciate sipping on bourbon neat, we're also are big fans of cocktails. What is the crowd favorite cocktail that includes your bourbon?
GB: The go-to cocktail of our fans always seems to be the Old Fashioned but we have a ton of food and drink recipes here: https://www.garrisonbros.com/recipes. Personally, The Smokin’ Jacket has become a favorite.
A&O: What's the best way for people outside of Texas to get a taste of your bourbon?
GB: We’re currently in over 20 States. Our store locator www.garrisonbros.com/find-it should help you locate bottles near you.
Images Courteous of Garrison Brothers