Texas distiller looking for an OK

Texans like to say everything in Texas is big. Legal distilleries are anything but.

There are only nine licensed distilleries in the state; the oldest, Tito's Vodka of Austin, is just 11 years old. However, that total will be upped by one if Chip Tate succeeds.

The 33-year-old Waco businessman has applied for state and federal licenses to allow him to produce small-batch whiskey. He owns Tate Technologies in Waco, a technological consultant to higher education agencies.

Although he won't be able to call it Scotch whisky, Tate said his Balcones Distillery would use Scottish techniques and peated malt.

"We're drawing on a lot of old traditions, but this will be a Texas whiskey. We're not apologetic about that," he told the Waco Tribune-Herald. "We're hoping to be the original Texas whiskey. ... I think it will be something that both bourbon and scotch drinkers will like."

Tate, who worked at a distillery in Scotland last summer and is an associate member the International Guild of Brewing and Distilling, said he also plans to sell a liquor called Rumble, similar to rum but contains mission figs, Texas wildflower honey and turbinado sugar.

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