Homegrown Grain-to-Glass Distillery in the Heart of Austin Prides Itself in Keeping it Local
When I first visited Still Austin Distillery in February 2018, they were just getting their feet on the ground, so to speak. They had just barreled their first spirits in 2017 in charred new American oak barrels. Of course we know that good things come to those who wait and it definitely holds true for whiskey, as the fermenting and aging of spirits is definitely a waiting process. So the wait was on!
In the meantime, the company had 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. Their New Make Whiskies are never sweetened nor artificially flavored. They are meant for sipping and using in cocktails. So when I visited the distillery in 2018, I was only able to taste this New Make Whiskey, which I found to be pretty good, by the way.
In October of 2019, Still Austin released its first batch of High Rye Bourbon which, according to their Master Blender, Nancy Fraley “was”: “Whiskey with delightfully sweet aromas that shine through on the initial nose, followed by waves of browned butter with baking spices such as cinnamon, allspice, and clove. The alcohol is soft and round on the palate, with a surprisingly long finish, depth, and finesse.” I say “was” because the limited release batch sold out quickly.
They also released their second batch of High Rye Bourbon Whiskey made with white corn, Elbon rye, and “wildfire” malted barley in Oct 2019. Thanks to the humidity and rapidly shifting temperatures of Central Texas, warm and spicy flavors were coaxed from the charred oak barrels in their rickhouse. This batch is also specially blended for a one-time, limited-barrel release. As of now you can only get your hands on this one at the distillery or some select stores, bars and restaurants throughout the Austin area.
They now have plans to release their first Straight Bourbon Whiskey this summer. So keep checking their website at www.stillaustin.com to get updated information on this release.
Certainly this article wouldn’t be complete without talking about Still Austin’s Gin spirit. Their Gin is uniquely crafted from a base of Texas Rye grains, which they mill and distill themselves, in a process that moves through two separate stills, their column still to craft the cleanest rye spirit base, and their copper-pot still to make sure the aromatics blend seamlessly. The result is a perfectly balanced gin, made in small batches with real botanicals like juniper, coriander seeds, cinnamon, citrus peels, elderflower and allspice.
As of now, due to the meticulous process required to craft their Still Austin Gin, this spirit is only available in their tasting room and throughout Texas. But don’t worry, they have plans to launch nationally soon.
Still Austin is the city’s first spirit producer 100% committed to grain-to-glass production. That means the distillery does everything in-house: milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, barreling and bottling.
When they started distilling 100% of their grains were grown within about 100 miles of the distillery. Fields need to rotate and weather patterns change year to year. They have kept their focus local and 100% of their grains are grown in Texas, but they no longer limit it to 100 miles. This gives them the latitude (literally) to source the highest quality of grain Texas can grow.
They chose to build the distillery inside the Austin city limits because this city is famed for blending art and science as we have seen with the growth of SXSW, the music scene and technology. So they wanted to follow suit by building a community around whiskey, a product made with ingenuity & exactitude. They are building this community by working with local farmers and giving back spent grains to feed the cows & amend the soil, a system of recycling. Also using distilling processes to conserve energy along with keeping things transparent continue to be true to the spirit of Austin. And they do all of this because it’s the right thing to do!
Stop by the distillery tasting room to get yourself a glass or a bottle:
Tasting Room Hours
Starting February 3, 2020
- Tuesday-Thursday: 12 pm to 9 pm
- Friday/Saturday: 12 pm to 10 pm
- Sunday: 12 pm to 6 pm
Or take a tour of the distillery and learn more about the process first hand:
Distillery Tour Times
Mon-Tue: By Appt. Only
Wed-Thu: 5pm, 7pm
Fri-Sat: 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm
Sun: 1pm, 3pm, 5pm
Location: 440 East St. Elmo Road, Austin, TX 78745
Phone: (512) 276-2700