We're proud to share the full Feature and these amazing photos of Dan Garrison, Founder of Garrison Brothers Distillery, as published in Texas Works.
A Special Look Inside "Texas Works"
In December, 2013, we published Texas Works: Products & Portraits of Talent. In addition to producing original photos of nearly 100 outstanding product brands from across Texas, we also wrote special features about some of the hardworking entrepreneurs responsible for the products' success.
Below, you can read our Feature on Dan Garrison, founder and owner of Garrison Brothers Distillery, as it appears in Texas Works, as well as preview the original photos by Caleb Kerr.
Dan Garrison hasn't always been an artisan bourbon distiller. Marketing on Madison Avenue helped him earn his keep for a while until fate, or Dan, or the combination thereof, decided it no longer would. So Dan set out to do what hadn't been done since before Prohibition: establish a legal bourbon distillery in the State of Texas.
He bought some pretty ranch land in the barely-there town of Hye, just up the road from Johnson City, and built a stillhouse and barrel barns and all the other makings of a place where time is best measure by vintage, rather than year. It's a quiet place. A big rooster roams about, taking little steps. Rain water rests in aluminum casks, awaiting the day it'll cut the proof. Corn boils in this room, while sugars ferment over there. Vapors rise high to the top of the copper still. And in the barrel barn, bourbon whiskey silently matures in the dark confines of American White Oak Wood. All is quiet.
Except on bottling days. Those are festive and productive events at Garrison Brothers Distillery, as dozens of volunteers stand side by side at banquet-long tables, dipping the caps of new vintage bourbon bottles into hot black wax. Merle Haggard plays in the background, competing with the harmony of chatter and chuckles, and inquiries of When does the BBQ lunch arrive? Newly sealed bottles are passed to the head of the table, where Dan Garrison stands and personally signs each one. Before doing so, however, he holds the bottle up to the light, inspecting it one last time for imperfections.
If the light could somehow show its perfections, instead, he'd see hand-selected, hand-ground organic Texas corn, wheat, and barley. Distillate selected by nose and taste. Natural butterscotch and caramel flavors and coloring resulting from the Texas heat, passing the bourbon in and out of the barrel's charred inner walls. He'd see ninety-four proof, with the smoothness of a forty-nine. He'd see a product that is authentically Texas.