Dripping Springs, TX (September 2018) – Treaty Oak Distilling (T.O.), the most awarded distillery in Texas that balances tradition and experimentation and strives to use only local resources, recently announced a long-term agreement with Texas heirloom grain producer, James Brown, the owner of Barton Springs Mill (BSM). As part of the deal, James will purchase two- and one-half acres of land and will move all mill production to the T.O. Distillery in Dripping Springs, beginning November, 2019. This will allow the company to source corn, wheat and rye directly onsite and to accomplish a true “grain to glass” methodology. Future plans also include a specialty grain and malting floor on-site.

The partnership, which began in 2017, puts T.O. at the forefront of the heirloom grain movement and ensures that its spirits, especially Ghost Hill Bourbon, will benefit from the finest elements Texas offers. The relationship started with T.O. doing small, limited-edition release projects. The distillery first bought some Bloody Butcher red corn from BSM, and started talking about transitioning over time, using open-pollenated corn varieties; non-GMO, non-modern corn, and eventually an heirloom variety organic corn, some of which haven’t been grown in 100 years. It’s essentially a return to a pre-prohibition model of what a whiskey or bourbon would look like. Some were sourced and others, which were virtually extinct, were grown from gene plasm samples.

Currently, BSM grows the following corn crops in acreage: Hickory King White (17), Oaxacan Green Corn (15), Jimmy Red (2), Hastings Prolific (2) and Texas Gourd Corn (1). These crops will be harvested for Treaty Oak beginning in November. At that time, they will also add in acreage: Wrens Abruzzi rye (30), Danko rye (20), and Sonora soft wheat (20).

James got into business on the front end of the farm-to-table movement. After earning his B.A. degree from the University of Houston, and a culinary degree from the Art Institute of Houston, he worked at the Houston Country Club under the direction of Certified Master Chef Fritz Gitschner, and later as the Chef de Cuisine at the Hotel Sofitel in Houston. When James learned he had no viable local options for baking, he found farmers who were willing to grow organic heritage grains, as well as sources for seed, and founded BSM in January 2017. In the beginning, he mostly worked with wholesale, then retail, and ultimately, brewing and distilling. In under two years of operation, James and his team at the mill have made a significant accomplishment of growing 90% of grains by local Texas farmers using sustainable organic practices. They have already distilled interesting corns such as Bloody Butcher, Hickory King White, and the Red, White & Blue bourbon which includes Hopi Blue, white corn, and red winter wheat. They will also distill Oaxacan Green by end of year.

“This partnership is a game-changer for BSM during a time of exciting change for Treaty Oak Distilling,” said Brown. “Texas has been an early adopter of the sustainable and organic farm-to-table movement, but I believe heirloom grains are the last frontier in this movement where people want transparency and traceability of because it makes a difference in taste, nutrition, gluten-sensitivity, and sustainability. Daniel was attracted to the concept of working this way from day one. He put his money where his mouth is, and even found us a home in Treaty Oak’s own backyard.”

“Partnering with James was a no-brainer – he’s a true extension of our team,” said Daniel Barnes, founder of Treaty Oak Distilling. “His culinary arts background and commitment to mill local and fresh heirloom landrace and heritage grains aligns seamlessly with our methodology and helps us to lower our carbon footprint by reducing resource use for transportation.”

Founded in 2006 by Daniel Barnes, Treaty Oak Distilling and its 28-acre ranch located in Dripping Springs, Texas (25 miles outside of Austin), houses the distillery, which produces an award-winning portfolio of whiskies (Red Handed Bourbon, Red Handed Rye, Ghost Hill Bourbon) and gin (Waterloo Gin No. 9, Waterloo Antique Gin, Waterloo Old Yaupon Gin), as well as Ghost Hill Restaurant, Cocktail Lab, Rick House Bar, and a visitor center. The talented team of rebels are comprised of distillers, sommeliers, botanists and architects that draw inspiration from the past, but also the world around them.

For more information, about Treaty Oak and its whiskey portfolio, visit Follow the brand on Facebook @TreatyOakTx and on Twitter and Instagram @TreatyOak

For more information about Waterloo Gin, visit Follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @waterloogintx

About Treaty Oak Distilling
Treaty Oak Distilling is a collective of distillers, sommeliers, botanists and architects based in Dripping Springs, Texas who are in pursuit of making the best spirits. They look to film, music, cultural exchange and beyond to push and fuel a path forward. Inspired by the world around them, they have crafted an unbound lineup of spirits: Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon, Red Handed Bourbon, Red Handed Rye Whiskey, Waterloo No.9 Gin, Waterloo Antique Gin and Waterloo Old Yaupon Gin. Connect with Treaty Oak Distilling on Facebook and Instagram. Drink responsibly.

About Barton Springs Mill
Since January of 2017, the “new” Barton Springs Mill has specialized in stone-milled heirloom and landrace grains. All of their farmers utilize sustainable organic practices. BSM actively participates in the process, acting as seedsmen and providing seed stock directly to the farmers. The resulting crops come straight from the combine to BSM’s door, which are then milled on demand for wholesale customers state-wide, for retail, and for Austin area farmers markets. BSM offers whole grains and a wide array of whole grain and sifted flours for all baking, culinary, brewing, and distilling needs.

Gabriel Phelan