Still Austin Whiskey Co Keeps Leading the Way
Still Austin Whiskey Co continues to lead the way in Austin’s spirit-making business. Interestingly, they were the first legal whiskey distillery in the Austin city limits to open since prohibition. Apparently getting all the permits was no small feat and took patience, but it has been well worth the wait.
Still is also the city’s first spirit producer 100% committed to grain-to-glass production, which means the crops used in their whiskey are grown less than 100 miles from the distillery. From the beginning the owners of Still, Chris Seals, co-founder and CEO of the company, Cleveland Seals (Chris’ father), and couples Andrew & Lisa Braunberg and Sal & Joanna Salinas and their head distiller John Schrepel, decided they wanted to work with local farmers while seeking the best grains for their whiskey making. They believed heirloom grains and antique varieties, bred for flavor, would yield a better tasting product. Grain-to-glass also indicates that a distillery has mashed, fermented, and distilled the base ingredients of its spirits. They source and process their own grains instead of purchasing neutral grain spirits in bulk. This doesn’t always mean that grain-to-glass spirits are better (this food writer does think it makes a difference) but it does mean they can offer transparency in sourcing, so you know what you’re getting. It also helps to support local farmers which is always a good thing.
Still Austin Whiskey Co is located in The Yard, a 150,000-square-foot development that opened in the St. Elmo district south of the city. As I was nearing the distillery I could easily spot the 50 tower that houses the copper and steel Forsyths still made in Scotland. This column acts as a beacon to whiskey aficionados driving by. As mentioned earlier, Still Austin does all its grain milling, mashing, fermenting, barreling and bottling in-house. They invite the public in to take a tour of their facility to see how things are done. And anyone is invited to take workshops on distilling if they are interested in learning the craft of whiskey-making. Or you can come in and work the bottling line as a volunteer. If you have ever yearned to see how things are done first-hand at a distillery, give em a call and join the line.
Of course we know that good things come to those who wait and it definitely holds true for whiskey making. Fermenting and aging spirits is a waiting process. Still Austin barreled their first spirits last year in charred new American oak barrels, so now the wait is on. In the meantime, the company has released their New Make Whiskey, a term for spirits taken straight from the still, that haven’t been aged. This showcases whiskey in its purest form. Never seeing the barrel, these smooth, pure spirits shine with the taste of pure Texas grain. The New Make Whiskies are never sweetened nor artificially flavored. They are meant for sipping and using in cocktails. After touring the distillery, these New Makes give you the chance to enjoy some whiskey sipping now, without having to wait on the aging process.
The team at Still Austin Whiskey Co created three makes for you to try:
- Their signature Blue Label, made with corn, red wheat and malted barley. Farm grains and a unique fermentation process combine to deliver a fruity and floral nose, a rich grain-forward taste and a smooth finish. Enjoy New Make Blue Label whiskey straight or add it to a favorite cocktail.
- Mother Pepper, made with locally-grown Chile pequin, smoked Serrano and aji amarillo peppers yield a spice-forward kick with a warm, citrus finish. Sip Mother Pepper straight or mix into a favorite sweet or savory cocktail.
- Daydreamer, delivering the flavors of summer by combining Valencia, Tangelo and Bergamot citrus into a crisp, clean spirit. Sip on the rocks or mix into a brunch cocktail.
So, after a tour of the distillery I got to sit down to a flight of these wonderful spirits. I found the Blue to be very smooth and good for mixing in any cocktail. The Mother Pepper definitely had a kick at the end and is great straight. But I am thinking it would also make a good Bloody Mary or a spicy margarita cocktail. The Daydreamer was my favorite with its citrus notes. I enjoyed it smooth but you can also make a really good margarita or other summer cocktail with this one. There was also a Mini Old Fashioned cocktail included with the flight which made an excellent drink!
Still Austin Whiskey is 100% locally made from grain to glass creating Texas expressions of American craft whiskeys. Making spirits from scratch ensures quality and transparency and at every step, it stays true to the very spirit that is Austin!
The distillery has both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as ample parking around the building.
You can purchase Still Austin Whiskey at their distillery or you can check here for places in and around Austin/San Antonio that carry it.
HAPPY HOUR EVERY THURSDAY & FRIDAY 3-7 PM
$2 OFF ALL WHISKEY COCKTAILS
Location: 440 East St. Elmo Road, Austin, TX 78745