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Balcones announces second Texas whiskey distillery

Balcones, the Texan whiskey company based in Waco, hopes to widen its global reach with the build of a second whiskey distillery.  

Balcones has announced the opening of a new craft distillery following the backing of business partners
Balcones has announced the opening of a new craft distillery following the backing of business partners

The facility will be housed in the Texan landmark 1923 Waco building – a 65,000 square foot fireproof storage unit which is five blocks from the current production site and previously used as a maturation warehouse by Balcones, as reported by The Spirits Business in an interview with Tate in May.

Tate said: “This vault of a building is a jewel that has been preserved from Waco’s heyday. Now we hope it will be part of downtown’s rebirth. It is exciting to be able to transform part of Waco’s history to become part of its future.”

Having secured investment from a number of parties, Balcones will build the new distillery to accommodate six sets of stills similar in size to those used by artisan distilleries in Scotland – half of this equipment will be built in-house while the larger stills and tanks will be built by Scottish still-makers, Forsyths.

Greg Allen will head the new investment team, which also includes Michael Rockafellow, Mark Allen, Paul Allen, Rob McLaughlin, Noell Michaels and Pat Donehue.

Tate added that the expansion could have taken place sooner, but he “held out” for a certain type of investor to work with. “Balcones has been fortunate enough to have a number of investment partners interested in working with us,” he said. “But we have held out for partners that share our commitment to quality over quick return and who are interested in growing a business we can pass on to our children.

“Many investors see that approach as old-fashioned, but we have taken time to find a group that we are proud to call partners. For the first time we will be able to dictate our production levels based on what we want to make rather than how much we make.”

Tate also addressed the lack of available Balcones bottles resulting from a recent surge in demand, and said he hopes the new facility will help remedy the problem.

He said: “We will never compromise quality for quantity, but this expansion will allow us to grow both. It will be exciting to try our hand at a few new recipes.”

The opening coincides with Balcones’ fifth anniversary that will be celebrated with a special collection of individual casks planned for release over the course of the year. The distillery has already launched its first single barrel Bourbon under the fifth anniversary bottlings banner, and will follow it up with Balcones Brimstone Resurrection, a whiskey formed from the burned ashes of blue corn atole.

The new distillery is set to open in early 2015.

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