View Full Version : "Whiskey Made in Fort Worth Sells Fast"

06-19-2012, 09:03
Except... the whiskey wasn't made in Ft Worth.


Oddly enough, most everything I read about Firestone & Robertson shifts between their blended whiskey, which is sourced from KY, and their bourbon, which is still aging and won't be released for several years. However, the way the information is presented obfuscates the lines between the two and gives an impression the blended whiskey is their own "handcrafted" product.

They don't mention ONCE in the above article that the whiskey was sourced from 3 different KY distilleries, then blended with F&R's vodka. This is clearly stated in an article I posted back in March:


Instead, the top article goes on and on about how these guys "set out to capture the right flavor by doing everything the old-fashioned way -- even making their own yeast from Texas pecan trees" and "bought custom-made copper stills in Kentucky and added 1,000-gallon fermentation tanks" so they could "Slowly (they) perfect(ed) the process and the taste."

I had no idea the "old-fashioned way" was to buy up barrels from other states, blend the whiskey with your vodka, then tout it around as something you "made."

I saw similar misleading information in an email from Sigel's liquor stores here in Dallas. They announced that they were now carrying the F&R Blended Whiskey, then for no real reason they go into a blurb about F&R's production of bourbon, which has absolutely nothing to do with this sourced juice

Uniquely North Texas

F&R set out to capture and develop a proprietary wild yeast strain suitable to ferment their straight bourbon whiskey. No other craft distillery in the country has attempted to isolate and propagate a wild yeast strain and a unique, wild yeast strain suitable for whiskey distillation had not been invented in decades. Rob Arnold, F&R master distiller, successfully identified and propagated a wild yeast strain from a pecan found on a North Texas ranch - the F&R 'Brazos' yeast strain.

Aging whiskey has never been performed in North Texas. Whiskey maturation is completely dependent on the liquid's interaction with the barrel's oak wood, which is driven entirely by ambient temperature fluctuations. Because of dramatic temperature swings, and notably the sustained heat of the North Texas climate, the bourbon will experience a tremendous amount of interaction with the oak of each barrel. Although there are other factors affecting the provenance of their whiskey, this fact alone significantly differentiates F&R bourbon from those aged in Kentucky and Tennessee.
This is like Rebecca Creek 2.0, just in a fancier package and more expensive! (but probably still just as bad)

06-19-2012, 09:53
The real question is if these guys (F&R) are obfuscating on purpose, or if it's just crappy coverage and journalism

I have a feeling it's a bit of both.

The bottles clearly say "blended whiskey" on them... but does that really let a consumer know they are getting bourbon flavored vodka?

I wanted these guys to do it right - couldn't they have just done a vodka, gin - or especially a pecan-yeast based rum to pay the bills rather than take this approach (FWIW: the "whiskey" is crap. back of the bottom shelf at best).

I just don't see how selling junk like this will help them when their "real" product does actually hit the shelves...?

06-19-2012, 17:34
They got into it with Dan Garrison in the comments section following some article, but last time I saw Dan he spoke highly of the guys. I tried their bourbon. It's about what you'd expect, i.e., pretty good white dog but not ready for prime time.

06-19-2012, 17:44
I tried their bourbon. It's about what you'd expect, i.e., pretty good white dog but not ready for prime time.

Not to sound to persnickety, but if it was White dog, it wasn't bourbon...:cool: (I'm totally yanking your chain - I know you meant their "bourbon mash distillation." We just need to be sure to keep the controversial tone going)

Seriously, though, don't you think they'd be better off selling that than crappy brown vodka?

At least it's a taste of things to come - as opposed to a taste of what somebody else did that you screwed up with NGS and are trying to pass of as "Texas Whiskey"?

C'mon - this is a big state, can't more than one distiller make something good? (tip of the hat to Balcones)

06-20-2012, 11:42
The person who is willing to take chances is often the same sort of person who can easily find himself with his head way up his own ass. The main problem with selling something you didn't make is that you put yourself into a different business, one that is not the business you got into the business to be in. They make this mistake because they think it will be easy to sell that third-party product and that will generate all the capital they need to do the thing they really want to do, but it's not that easy and they find that to do it successfully will take all of their energy and resources, and then some, leaving nothing for the "real" enterprise. That's the fatal trap and why so few producers who start out selling a product they didn't make ever fully transition into making their own stuff. Did Templeton start out intending to not make its product, or did they get successful and figure out that they could never transition that product to a house-made one? I tend to suspect Templeton, as one example, was phony from day one, but others have fallen into the trap I describe above.

White Dog
06-20-2012, 11:48
I don't care what you think of me, I'm not changing my name to "Bourbon Mash Distillation.";)

06-20-2012, 13:05
I don't care what you think of me, I'm not changing my name to "Bourbon Mash Distillation.";)

I beg of you to not change it to "juice", either. :D

06-20-2012, 21:28
I beg of you to not change it to "juice", either. :D

But "juice" sounds so good when you say it really slow in a breathy voice. Well, maybe not when he says it. :lol:

06-22-2012, 21:25
They got into it with Dan Garrison in the comments section following some article, but last time I saw Dan he spoke highly of the guys. I tried their bourbon. It's about what you'd expect, i.e., pretty good white dog but not ready for prime time.

I read an online story about their release in DMagazine that was titled something like: "When is Bourbon not bourbon when it really is or may be bourbon?" One could have read it nine times and have come no closer to understanding what was actually in the bottle. So, I shot off a comment stating as much to one of the distillers and the blogger. Admittedly, my comment sounded rude. So, yeah, I publicly apologized.

That said, I find the concept of a blended bourbon (not made where they say its made; made by other distilleries; with or without vodka) unacceptable, dissappointing and disingenius. Bourbon's get married, not blended. There aren't "master blenders" in America. You either choose to make bourbon or you don't. There is no in-between! I think my friends in Kentucky would agree.

Whether one likes our bourbon or not, we make our own juice! As a result, once again, We're teetering on the edge of bankruptcy -- even though our bourbon is about to sell out statewide yet again. That's cool, we've been here before. Not our first rodeo.

Some may like my bourbon; some may not; but nobody has tried my three-year-old or my-four-year-old except me and my distiller Donnis Todd. When you have, ya'll will come around, but you'll have to come visit texas to get some.

Glad to be posting again at SB. Missed you guys. Been a long, hard, wonderful couple of years. God I love straight bourbon!

06-23-2012, 06:10
Glad to see you back posting Dan. I brought my brother and his family out to the distillery this past April. Man, have things changed since my last visit. You have spent a lot of money getting things set up properly. We had a great time. See you in Houston soon.


06-23-2012, 12:58
It's interesting when you think about how far we are down this micro-distillery road, how few people are even attempting to make what most bourbon drinkers (and makers) would regard as fully-aged bourbon. Think about some of the people who have been around four or five years or more, who could now be selling a four-year-old bourbon or rye if they chose to, but few have so chosen.

Most would rather just talk about it and play make believe.

Dan is one of the very, very, few who is doing it. He has done nothing from day one except fill his pipeline with bourbon. He is also a great case in point for why so few do. I urge anyone who can to get thee out to Hye. It's a great experience and, in so many ways, a model for what a micro-distillery should be.