Texas' best little distillery under a bridge, Balcones, has won a new set of awards, further documenting its slow and steady conquest of the whiskey world. This time around London's Wizards of Whisky anointed the Waco-based distiller's Texas single malt as Whisky of the Year 2014, as well as the World Single Malt of the Year and the American Single Malt of the Year.
Chip Tate, president, founder and head distiller of Balcones, has a long history with yeast and its various reactions, dating back to his high school days when he started baking bread. At college he studied physics, philosophy, dabbled in divinity and started brewing beer before moving on to whiskey. Balcones opened in 2008 and they've won more than 100 awards since.
A unique quality at Balcones are the stills, which Tate personally designed and handcrafted. Just recently, he finished construction of another still, doubling capacity, which is great news considering bottles of Balcones can be hard to find. Unfortunately, that white dog has to mature in barrels for some time before we'll see them on the shelves.
This summer Balcones broke ground on a 65,000-square-foot distillery in downtown Waco that will allow it to expand exponentially. "For the first time ever, we will be able to dictate our production levels based on what we want to make rather than how much we can make," says Tate in a statement about the new facility.
The Balcones team hopes to have the new distillery operating by early 2015.