Fierce Whiskers Distillery brings visitors into whiskey aging process
Patience is a virtue at Fierce Whiskers, a new Austin bourbon distillery that aims to take visitors on the journey of aging its Straight Rye and premium Straight Bourbon, which is aged for four years.
State of play: Co-founders Tri Vo and Tim Penney built the distillery with the years-long aging process in mind, inviting visitors to taste their new-make whiskey (the latest blend was aged for about nine months), and check out behind-the-scenes tours of their rickhouse and aging warehouse behind the tasting room.
"We want people to be part of the journey and be part of the process," Vo said Friday afternoon in the tasting room. "We really want to be part of the community."
Vo, who has lived in Austin for 14 years and graduated from the University of Texas, is president of CarbonBetter, which specializes in climate change solutions for businesses. He brought that background to Fierce Whiskers, considering sustainability at every stage, including building construction, ingredient choices, equipment and more.
- The building is equipped with solar panels that cover about one-third of the site’s energy use. Their grains are sourced from Amarillo, and spent grain is later donated to local livestock farmers to repurpose as feed.
- The white oak barrels come from sustainably harvested logs.
Like every business, COVID brought issues and delays, but Vo says the pandemic also "gave us the time and space to really focus on what we’re doing back there."
While you won’t find Fierce Whiskers’ bottles on store shelves for now, there’s still plenty to see (and drink) at the company's new site in Southeast Austin.
- Drop by the trendy tasting room for a beverage. Sure, you won’t get the premium aged stuff for a few years, but the cocktail menu is for the whiskey lover and beyond.
- Start with the signature Fierce Whiskers cocktail: a blend of rye whiskey, non-alcoholic vermouth, ango bitters and pepper extract. Vo recommends it because "you can taste where our product is today."
- Don’t sweat it if you’re not a whiskey fan. The company also produces small batches of craft gin, rum and agave spirits in-house. Try the Lemonade Lucy for a refreshing combination of gin, lemon, simple syrup, bitters and sparkling water. Plus, Vo recommends the paloma.
- Don’t miss Char ATX, a mobile izakaya serving char-grilled yakitori. Nicole tried the ribeye, grilled to perfection and stuffed with green onion. The pork belly is tender and sweet, and if it’s your first time trying yakitori, Vo suggests starting with the classic chicken thigh.
- Enjoy live music on the weekends, or plan your own event at the sprawling site.
If you’re a true whiskey fan, the distillery's Barrel Club offers quarterly private tastings for an annual fee. Fierce Whiskers uses input from members to determine the taste of future barrels.
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