Fierce Whiskers Distillery Launches Stubborn Bar, a Floating Pop-Up Bar on Lady Bird Lake
The fun-loving Austin spirits brand celebrated their latest Texas Straight Rye Whiskey
Fierce Whiskers Distillery decided on a fairly unorthodox approach to celebrate the release of their Texas Straight Rye Whiskey. In addition to a traditional release party at their HQ, Fierce Whiskers launched “Stubborn Bar,” a pop-up whiskey bar serving pours of Texas Straight Rye and rye-based cocktails as it takes visitors for a pleasant float on Lady Bird Lake.
Fierce Whiskers opened in Southeast Austin in 2021 with a simple yet ambitious mission: to produce excellent whiskeys entirely distilled, aged, and bottle right here in Austin. “We could have easily sourced product and put our label on it to begin turning a profit, but we grit our teeth and chose to distill, age, and bottle everything ourselves,” explains Tri Vo, founder and CEO of Fierce Whiskers. The Fierce Whiskers team uses solar power to do as much of the process as they can, which contributes to their goal of “doing things the right way, not the easy way.”
Seasonal releases are Fierce Whiskers’ business model, which allows their distillers to play around with different whiskey styles and their bartenders to craft engaging cocktails that highlight the key flavors of each type. Their new Texas Straight Rye Whiskey is an oak-aged rye with bold aromatics and spicy notes that work beautifully in mixed drinks and straight pour.
“Stubborn Bar” is an RSVP-only “floating” bar on Lady Bird Lake.
When it came time to plan the Texas Straight Rye Whiskey launch, Vo tells us that “we knew off the bat we wanted to do something uncommon. In a city where so much is happening every week, we didn’t want to just be another party, concert, or bar opening.”
The idea of “stubbornness” is one that resonated with Vo, who says that Fierce Whiskers’ philosophy on making whiskey in Austin has never been one that cuts corners or uses shortcuts. That’s why Fierce Whiskers decided on a launch concept that requires a bit of determination and advance planning from those who want to partake.
“Stubborn Bar” is a custom-built boat that can hold six passengers and a bartender at a time. To board, guests must add their names to a waitlist, and if they’re able to secure seats, they’ll get an email a few days prior with coordinates that will lead them to a top-secret meeting spot on the lake shore. From there, guests are welcome to use a paddleboard or canoe to row themselves out to the Stubborn Bar, or the bar team will arrange for a runner to pick them up and take them out.
Stubborn Bar guests can enjoy a choice of two cocktails or a pour of Fierce Whiskers Texas Straight Rye Whiskey.
Once aboard, Stubborn Bar guests will be offered a choice of beverages. They can either take a straight or on-the-rocks pour of Texas Straight Rye Whiskey, or they can opt for one of two cocktails: a classic Old Fashioned made with the rye or “The Austin”, a drink made with rye, lemon, honey, peach tea, orgeat, and egg white.
Each sail lasts for one hour, and guests won’t be charged for their drinks while on board.
Stubborn Bar is Fierce Whiskers’ first pop-up activation ever, but it won’t be their last.
Stubborn Bar embarked on its first sail on Saturday, June 3, and the Fierce Whiskers team tells us that it was a roaring success. “We had never even done a pop up, much less a pop up with a custom floating fabrication in the middle of a lake,” said Vo, who also tells us that “the feedback has been overwhelming from both patrons and people paddling by. We learned that people really love unique experiences like this and that one of the most powerful tools in the city is still word of mouth.”
Therefore, we weren’t surprised to learn that the remaining spots on the Stubborn Bar booked up quickly; the boat’s final two weekends will take place on Saturday, June 17 and Sunday, June 18 and on Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25. While all slots have been spoken for at this point, anyone still curious about this floating bar is encouraged to add their names to the waitlist, as the team will contact waitlisters in the case of any cancellations. “We currently have 2300 people on the waiting list for the next two weekends, just from people seeing us on the water and telling a friend. Next time, we will have to build a bigger boat,” Vo explained.
Fierce Whiskers hopes to continue this new tradition of using creative events to tell the story of their whiskies, and we can’t wait to see what they roll out in the future!