Chances are, if you’re going to the Austin City Limits Festival this weekend, you’re testing out your comfortable shoes ahead of time on the walk to Zilker Park, just like the hundreds of others who can’t park anywhere near the festival.
But that’s OK: Barton Springs Road, the heavily trafficked thoroughfare to the park, has a variety of different attractions to keep you occupied on your sojourn, from restaurants to temporary vendors. Among the latter is the Wild Turkey Bourbon bus, parked in the Picnic food trailer park lot throughout the next two weekends of the festival.
Walk into its cool air-conditioned interior and you’re in for a brief, boozy respite from the heat and the long day ahead. The mobile tasting room inside has a variety of Wild Turkey’s award-winning whiskeys for you to try, as well as information about each of them, including their long Kentucky history and their taste, smell and maturation profiles.
You might even meet Bruce Russell, grandson of Wild Turkey’s venerable former master distiller Jimmy and the Austin brand ambassador for Wild Turkey’s specialty whiskey line, Russell’s Reserve. (His father, Eddie, is the current master distiller, so it’s truly a family affair.)
Wild Turkey — which has been distilling whiskey since the late 1800s, well before the brand even had its current fowl-focused name — has benefited, like many other booze brands on the market today, from the current spirits revival that’s drawing newcomers into everything from gin to mezcal to bourbon.
“About five to 10 years ago, when people under 40 started drinking cocktails like mint juleps and Manhattans and whiskey sours, we’ve really seen the product take off,” Bruce Russell said.
When you stop into the Wild Turkey bus, you’ll be able to try some of the whiskeys that have fueled this resurgence: bourbons including Wild Turkey 81 and Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof, ryes like Russell’s Reserve 6-Year-Old Rye and even an American blended whiskey called Forgiven, which is a compelling mix of both bourbon and rye. All of them are made from non-GMO grains, the corn harvested from small Kentucky farms, the rye from Germany and the barley from North and South Dakota.
To visit the bus, RSVP ahead of time at wildturkey.splashthat.com. The Wild Turkey Bourbon bus is opened today through 8 p.m., as well as from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday through Sunday this weekend and noon to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday next weekend at 1720 Barton Springs Rd.