BalconesDistilleryLike many small manufacturing towns across the country, Waco, Texas has been hit hard with economic problems over the last ten years. However, one man has taken on the challenge of revitalizing this town with a craft distillery.


Tucked away under a bridge on 17th Street, surrounded by deserted stores and buildings, sits a remodeled welding shop that’s now home to Balcones Distillery. The secluded and remote distillery is putting out what some are now calling the best single malt whiskey in the world.


After planning to build a brewery for ten years, founder Chip Tate switched gears to whiskey. In the last five years, Balcones has set out to create a new tradition in Texas: outstanding whiskey. The distillery has made it their mission to make “Texas whiskey, not whiskey from Texas.” Using ingredients like Texas sugar and raw flowered honey from South Texas, Balcones truly represents the spirit of the Lone Star state.


And it’s damn good whiskey too. In 2012, the distillery took down heavyweights Johnnie Walker and Macallan for first place in the Single Malt Whiskey category at the 2012 Best in Glass competition. In the past few months, Balcones took home Whisky Magazine’s Craft Distillery of the Year award and won World Whisky of the Year at the Wizards of Whisky competition in London.


With all of their acclaim, Balcones is set to move shop to a 6-story facility this year. However, they view their size and independence as crucial to their continued success. Even though they’re leaving their whiskey cave behind, its safe to say this is a small distillery with a big future.