In Waco, Balcones Distilling is more ready than ever for your business.
The whiskey — or, as the distillers there spell it, whisky — producers officially opened a $14.5 million facility yesterday that will allow them to make four times the amount of whisky than their old location, at 3,000 sq. ft., allowed.
“After many years of laboring in a cramped, old welding shop under a bridge, we are finally ready to expand our operations and cement Balcones’ place in downtown Waco’s promising future,” the distillers wrote in a blog post at the end of last year. “Balcones’ new home awaits just a few blocks away from our current distillery, inside the Texas Fireproof Storage Co. building, a historic landmark on 11th Street. With more space for bigger and better equipment, our craft will no longer be restricted by size.”
That’s been a problem for Balcones, which has experienced astronomical demand after establishing itself as a powerhouse in the spirits industry. Balcones makes a variety of different spirits, primarily whisky, including the vibrant Baby Blue, the robust Brimstone and the silky Texas Single-Malt Whisky — all of which tend to fly off shelves as soon as they arrive.
But Balcones’ new 65,000 sq. ft. facility promises quadrupled capacity and the chance to play around with additional spirits.
“The biggest change is capacity, but even more so than that, there’s a lot of control that we just didn’t have at the old place that’s going to allow for fine-tuning and, honestly, some experimentation we were just never able to do,” head distiller Jared Himstedt said in a video produced by the Waco Tribune-Herald. “(We’ll) accentuate things we’ve always loved, see if we can bring some of those things forward. See what kind of new things we get.”
One new product to look out for soon, he said in the video, is a 100 percent rye recipe. (No surprise: Rye is one of the hottest spirits on the market right now.)
Himstedt and others at Balcones celebrated the opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday that included guests like Waco Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr. and Baylor and former Pittsburgh Steelers player Walter Abercrombie, according to a press release.
The ceremony highlighted another big change coming for the distillery: Balcones will be able “to welcome whisky fans to the site with features like our tasting room,” Balcones president Keith Ballinger said in the release. According to the Tribune-Herald, public tours of the steel, concrete and brick space will start in June.
And Balcones fans worried about a dip in quality because of a surge in scale needn’t worry: Himstedt has stressed that quality and the use of good ingredients remains a top priority. The distillery has already weathered enormous change before — coming out the other side with whiskies as solid as ever.
For more information about Balcones Distilling, visit www.balconesdistilling.com.