Courtesy of Devils River Whiskey
San Antonio has never been known as a whiskey destination, but expect that to change as two new distilleries prepare to open in the heart of downtown this year.
Maverick Whiskey, a locally-owned distillery, and Devils River Whiskey, a Dallas-based brand shifting its headquarters to San Antonio, are among the most recent additions to the city’s spirits scene, which already includes Artisan Distillery, Alamo Distilling and Dorćol Distilling.
Maverick — owned by Kenneth Maverick, the fourth-great-grandson of Samuel Maverick, a notable figure in Texas independence and San Antonio history — will occupy 14,065 square feet inside the historic Lockwood Building at 115 Broadway. The distillery is expected to open in early March.
Much of downtown San Antonio once belonged to the locally prominent family, and the building sits on the corner of the family’s original homestead, Maverick said.
“We hope to honor our family name with everything we do, and to give patrons a taste of what Texas truly is,” he added.
Head Distiller Rikk Munroe, the original distiller for Ben Milam Whiskey in Blanco, will help oversee production. The space will also include a modest brewing program, though a brewer has yet to be named.
As a grain-to-glass distillery, Maverick will make its own neutral grain spirit, in addition to distilling and aging it onsite. Straight whiskey takes two years of aging before it’s ready to consume. So, in the meantime, the distillery plans to introduce a light, or unaged, whiskey with a shorter turnaround time.
“Whereas bourbon has to be aged in a new American oak barrel, light whiskey can be aged in a used barrel,” said Munroe. “The idea is that we can take used cooperage and just age it for a day to get a little barrel character and get the product out to the consumer.”
An upstairs tasting room, complete with a Wild West saloon-style bar, will offer patrons a view overlooking the distilling and brewing equipment while they enjoy whiskey, beer and small bites from a limited food menu.
The distillery’s third level will have catering services and event space available for private functions. Maverick plans to serve its whiskey and beer onsite for now, with the possibility of limited distribution down the road.
Courtesy of Devils River Whiskey
Devils River, found inside the adjacent Burns Building, is slated to open by late 2019. The 13,000-square-foot space — located at 401 E. Houston St. — will include a tasting room, gift shop, space for events and a hybrid column and pot distilling system. The building, owned by David Adelman of AREA, already includes the Traveler Barber Shop as a tenant, with a coffee shop coming soon.
The Houston Street space marks the company’s second location, after the original distillery opened in 2017. Mike Cameron, owner of Devils River, always intended to bring the distillery to San Antonio. The new location will supplement its existing production and expose the brand to tourists and a larger potential geographic audience.
And, within the next 18–24 months, the company will bring all production to San Antonio. Some barrels will leave the new facility for distribution.
Like Maverick, it will be two years before Devils River’s San Antonio location will have its own aged whiskey, though the company doesn’t plan to offer a light whiskey when doors open later this year.
“We have enough production out of our Dallas location to provide the Burns location with whiskey until the aged spirit is ready,” Cameron said.
No stranger to the world of spirits, Cameron co-founded Rebecca Creek and currently serves as president for the Texas Distilled Spirits Association.
Devils River is looking to partner with area restaurants, such as nearby Playland Pizza, so it can provide patrons with something to munch on while imbibing, Cameron said. Tours will be likely be available at least six days a week, though the details are still being finalized.
“We’re excited to be a part of the history of San Antonio’s downtown and join the area distilleries,” Cameron added. “We want to give all visitors a taste of that history with a speakeasy type of feel, and we think this building is perfect for it.”
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