Fierce Whiskers Whiskey Distillery Opens in Southeast Austin
The new distillery offers craft-driven spirits with plans to have its whiskey on store shelves by 2023
By David Clough
Photographs by Austin Cochran and courtesy of Fierce Whiskers Distillery
Bourbon and rye fans, rejoice. A new Texas whiskey destination has arrived in Southeast Austin. Called Fierce Whiskers Distillery, the spirits facility features a four-story rickhouse, lush outdoor space, a state-of-the-art distillery and an elegant tasting room for sipping cocktails and the company’s latest drams. The tasting room opened to the public this fall.
Headed by native Texans Tri Vo and Tim Penney, Fierce Whiskers ultimately plans to sell its whiskey at retail, too. The company aims to have a Straight Rye on store shelves by 2023 and a premium, four-year-aged Straight Bourbon available for purchase by 2024. Fierce Whiskers started distilling its first batches of whiskey last year.
“We’re using the best, local ingredients, handling all-whiskey making processes in-house,” co-founder Vo recently told TRIBEZA. He says Fierce Whiskers sources 99 percent of its grains from farmers near Amarillo, Texas.
While the brand’s flagship whiskeys are maturing (the spirits age in white oak barrels inside the company’s rickhouse, which stands dark and imposing next to the distillery), guests are invited to imbibe craft cocktails in the tasting room. Both menus of classic and signature cocktails are made with unaged, new-make whiskey, gin, rum and agave spirits, all distilled in-house.
“As a distillery, we’re obligated to only use our spirits so our classics require minor variations that include house-made tinctures, non-alcoholic vermouths, liqueurs, and wine,” says Vo. “Signatures utilize more craft-driven methods such as fat-washing and milk-clarifying, and include house-made syrups and shrubs.”
The windows of the airy, elegant tasting room offer a view into the production facility, with its colossal copper still, but also showcase the distillery’s sprawling grounds, complete with shaded outdoor space, picnic tables and new food truck, Char ATX, which serves up a spirited menu of chargrilled meats and vegetables.
For whiskey connoisseurs looking for even more from the facility, Fierce Whiskers has launched two membership programs: The Cut and Barrel Club. At a $50 annual membership fee, The Cut offers members first access to free events at the distillery, exclusive apparel, special newsletter content and regular spirit samples sent by mail or available for pick up at the tasting room.
The distillery’s Barrel Club is a higher-tier membership that grants access to private events and pairing dinners, quarterly private tastings with Fierce Whiskers’ two co-head distillers and a 20 percent discount at the tasting room (for the member and up to four guests). Barrel Club members also receive special merchandise, a copper bar kit welcome gift and an exclusive branded bottle and bottling experience. This membership is priced at $1,000 for the first year, with an annual renewal fee of $250.
Fierce Whiskers takes its name from an 1849 quote by 19th President of the United States Rutherford B. Hayes. In a journal entry, President Hayes described the city of Austin as “an inconsiderable village with large expectations…full of discharged ‘Rangers’…costumes of every variety…Fierce whiskers, gaming, and drinking very abounding in all quarters.”
The distillery is open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, and 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.