Texas distiller makes 1st blue corn whiskey

If your ideas of drinking in Texas are based on old movies about the Wild West, you'd be forgiven for thinking there was a distillery every few miles. But, that's far from the truth.

There aren't a lot of distilleries in the Lone Star State. And one of the more interesting ones is just 19 months old.

Balcones Distilling, founded last year in Waco, has just released what it says is probably the world's first blue corn whiskey, called Baby Blue.

Chip Tate, founder of Balcones (pronounced bal-KO-nays), said the whiskey is made 100% from Hopi blue corn, distilled twice, and aged in new charred oak barrels.

Tate, a longtime brewer, said Baby Blue could legally be called bourbon, but the type of corn he used gives it a different character. As the Balcones website explains it:

"While Hopi blue corn we use has an extremely interesting history, there is really only reason one we prefer it to all other corn for our whiskey -- taste. Its gorgeous midnight blue kernels are packed with a rich, roasty nuttiness that is truly exceptional.

"Unlike most of the blue corn on the market, Hopi blue corn is not just white dent corn which has been specially crossed to give it a blue tint. There is a lot of quality corn in this category, even some nice organic examples. But in a blind taste test, we could not tell the blue from the white corn. Hopi blue corn, however, has been grown with the same rich color and flavor for thousands of years and is the only corn that could impart the rich character we require for our whisky.??Americans have innovated the use of corn in whisky since we first set foot on this continent."

Balcones also has Rumble, a rum-like spirit made from Texas wildflower honey, mission figs and turbinado sugar, in distribution.

Availability at this time is very limited. If you live outside Texas, your best bet is to contact Stephen Germer, co-founder and marketing director, directly at (512) 294-6735 for information.

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John Martin said...

Couple things.

There are several other distilleries in Texas, most notably Tito's Vodka, Treaty Oak Rum and Savvy Vodka. I missed a few and more are coming.

If it's 100% Corn (blue or otherwise) it can't be called Bourbon, only corn whiskey. Bourbon has to have less than 80% corn.

William M. Dowd said...

It is not true that bourbon has to have less than 80% corn. By federal law, bourbon has to have a minimum of 50% corn, but there is no upper limit. Most distillers use in the range of 72 to 81%.

Geoff said...

This Blue Corn Whiskey is amazing. Balcones now has a cask strength version, but the True Blue is fantastic at the lower proof.

Great to see a whiskey so promising come out of Texas!