"From the first day, we were going to do it right," Garrison says. "That's what I'm most proud of."

Garrison's perfectionism has made him a darling of the state's whiskey drinkers, who pounced on the opportunity to help him bottle bourbon last month.

"We sat down and had a management meeting, Fred, Donnis and me," Garrison says, referring to his operations staff. "We were all bleary-eyed and Donnis said, 'How many bottles do you want to bottle? How in the hell are we going to bottle all that bourbon?' I said, 'Well, let's ask people to come join up.' I sent out a blog and damn if we didn't get flooded. We have a waiting list for November. I guess it's novel: It gives them ownership of bourbon."

Dan Garrison was running a nonprofit
foundation when he came across a newspaper story about a craft vodka maker.
"Why doesn't someone make something that tastes good?" Garrison asked his wife.
He opened his distillery in 2008.
Josh Huskin
Dan Garrison was running a nonprofit foundation when he came across a newspaper story about a craft vodka maker. "Why doesn't someone make something that tastes good?" Garrison asked his wife. He opened his distillery in 2008.
A worker helps seal bottles filled with Garrison Brothers' latest bourbon. Demand for the craft distiller's bourbon was so
high they called for volunteers to help with bottling. In return, the volunteers got free samples to sip.
Josh Huskin
A worker helps seal bottles filled with Garrison Brothers' latest bourbon. Demand for the craft distiller's bourbon was so high they called for volunteers to help with bottling. In return, the volunteers got free samples to sip.

Work duty also gave volunteers the chance to sample bourbon, which was doled out by the shot every few hours. Garrison delivered a different toast each time, praising whiskey, Texas and Willie Nelson.

Garrison Brothers bourbon is startlingly dark and satiny as a Tootsie roll.

"Isn't that pretty?" said a retiree who stumbled upon the distillery during bottling week and was treated to a drink.

"I could sip that," her husband said. "We drink some mixed drinks, but very seldom do we drink spirits straight."

"We don't drink straight, and we don't have friends that do," the woman confirmed. "Well, maybe Jack."

Garrison, who was across the room checking bottles for stray wax trails, jumped in: "You can mix it with ketchup, but please don't tell me about it."

"Well, it's such a pretty color," the tourist said.

"And I think because it's from Texas, it's going to grow fast," her husband added.

Garrison nodded: "Too fast. Too fast."

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6 comments
Fawleyjude
Fawleyjude

Well, you can drink a whiskey just because it comes from Texas if you want to, but I'm not going to pay inflated prices or settle for inferior product just to satisfy someone's notion of "Texas pride". If some local guys come up with something that's compelling enough to draw me away from the Van Winkle, then I'll consider it. But they've barely gotten started, hardly enough of a track record to justify all the bragging.

busterkeaton
busterkeaton

Ancient Age, is the best bourbon for the money(very little dinero needed)! So, take that bourbon snobs!

Catbird
Catbird

Take my word for it T.J. Miller ( Ranger Creek) comes from a family heritage full of West Virginia moonshiners. It must be in the blood.

Scott Campbell
Scott Campbell

Without ever tasting a drop I drove to Austin to get a bottle of Garrison Brothers Bourbon last week just after it was released. In fact, the store had not even put it on the shelves and would only sell me 1 bottle. It was worth it.

Fawleyjude
Fawleyjude

It's not bad for the price. You might want to give Buffalo Trace a try sometime--same price range, same distillery, good stuff, but different character.

 
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