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Issue 118 - Let the whisky speak

Whisky Magazine Issue 118
March 2014


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Let the whisky speak

Our man follows craft distiller Chip Tate on a mission to Scotland

When the slow release news of Balcones Distilling's plans for a new and much larger distillery was finally made official, the reaction was mixed and typical.

First and foremost, great joy among the distillery's now global band of devotees, many of whom languish on order forms four or more months old.

Second, a slight jangling of big boy nerves, home and away. The expansion pressures of an award winning cult; a new, indefinable and streetwise organised religion operating in an increasingly crowded market place.

Third, raised eyebrows from one or two friendlies, fellow champions of America's burgeoning and innovative craft distillery movement.

All eyes on Chip Tate, founder, President, Head Distiller: the man has already heroically taken an idea to the top of a mountain.

Now what?

I'm being dramatic. Two new and temporary sets of stills, Tate's first move, shortens future queues, aims to triple production and stays true to craft roots. The Beams of this world aren't losing much sleep over a Texas distillery's relatively modest plans for expansion. Balcones have a third set of investors, the reasonably deep pocketed PE2, but we're not talking billions. They're not here to make a quick buck.
They know Tate's not making cans of beans – ever. They've bought into something else, slower, something much more real. Ergo, world domination is not the Balcones mission statement.

Even so, as of 2015, the Balcones landscape looks set to change. How much, however, and say some, is w...

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