Fort Worth will soon welcome a one-of-a-kind distillery in its midst.
Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co., which crafts both TX Whiskey and TX Bourbon, is prepping to launch Whiskey Ranch on the site of the former Glen Garden Country Club in southeast Fort Worth.
Once it opens in later this year, Whiskey Ranch will be the largest distillery of its type west of the Mississippi River, not to mention one of the few, if not the only one, surrounded by an 18-hole golf course, according to the company.
Whiskey Ranch will be the largest distillery of its type west of the Mississippi.
The course has its own history as well. Golfing legends Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson caddied and learned the game there.
The 112-acre property, which distillery owners Leonard Firestone and Troy Robertson acquired in 2014, will include a huge column distillery, visitor’s center, tasting room tavern, and events pavilion.
One highlight of Whiskey Ranch will be a 45-foot custom-copper column still, allowing for a continuous distillation process, versus the batch process currently used at F&R’s Vickery site. The batch process yields about three barrels a day, but production will increase to approximately 40 barrels a day at Whiskey Ranch.
Additionally, visitors to the new property will be able to see the still in action, as well as get an overall view of the production process that yields the craft bourbons and whiskeys developed and sold by F&R.
INNOVATIVE SPIRITS WITH A TEXAS CONNECTION
The path between then and now started with Robertson’s and Firestone’s belief that whiskey aficionados should be able to acquire and enjoy spirits with a Texas connection.
Texas is the second-largest whiskey-consuming state in the country, but for many years, there were no Lone Star distilleries, Robertson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The partners decided to change that in 2011, by distilling an innovative drink, they called an “American blended whiskey that would rival the best Scottish, Irish, and Canadian whiskey blends.” The result was an 82-proof liquor, dubbed TX Whiskey. Later on, they added TX Bourbon to the spirit offerings.
“Thankfully, we’ve experienced a lot of demand and are able to build a facility like this.”
F&R’s products are created from Texas-sourced ingredients, including corn and wheat. Even the caps are hand-crated using leather from area boot makers including a recent limited-release collaboration with M.L. Leddy’s.
The company’s proprietary yeast is developed and maintained by the company’s head distiller Rob Arnold. The yeast consists of flora captured from a Texas pecan, situated on the Rancho Hielo Brazos Ranch in Somervell County. The ranch itself is an homage to Texas history, owned as it was by an heir to a man who died defending the Alamo.
The resulting liquor has attracted a great deal of attention and awards, including Double Gold Medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Now, that attention is leading to creation of a first-of-its-kind distillery in North Texas.
“I think there’s a lot of people who are intrigued with this business,” Robertson told the Star-Telegram. “We’ve seen, certainly, a number of new distilleries open up. But in terms of scale, it’s really difficult to scale beyond just opening, getting a pot still and putting a few cases out the door. It takes a lot of demand from consumers. Thankfully, we’ve experienced a lot of demand and are able to build a facility like this.”
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