Central Texas added another distillery to its roster when whiskey producer Ben Milam Distillery opened its tasting room doors in Blanco last month. Located at 208 Carlie Lane next to the Buggy Barn Museum, the whiskey distillery is named after Texas Freedom Fighter Ben Milam, who died in the 1836 battle for San Antonio; Milam County was named after him. The distillery focuses on both bourbon and rye.
Owner and founder Marsha Milam, a driving force behind the creation of beloved events such as the Austin Film Festival and KGSR’s Unplugged at the Grove, fell in love with bourbon after experiencing the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky. Consequently, she attended her first distilling class in 2015 and began the process of opening Ben Milam Distillery on its two shaded acres in Blanco. She named the distillery after Milan, her first cousin six times removed, and chose to have the distillery’s ribbon cutting ceremony on March 2, Texas Independence Day, in his honor.
The 86-proof Ben Milam bourbon is aged in new American oak charred barrels, as tradition dictates, and is currently available in the tasting room, as well as at Shady Grove, County Line BBQ, and select Austin retailers. Ben Milam Rye Whiskey will roll out in the next couple of months. Line extensions of both the bourbon and rye are tentatively slated for early 2018.
While high quality corn and rye is usually sourced in the midwest, Ben Milam uses local Blanco water, which boasts many of the same properties as the water in Kentucky including flowing through limestone and having high calcium and magnesium content and low iron content.
The tasting room is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 1 to 6 p.m. Whiskey flights (which include both bourbon and rye), cocktails, and bottles are available for purchase. The tasting room comfortably seats about 20 guests but it can welcome much larger groups too thanks to an outdoor seating area. Distillery tours will debut in mid-May on Saturdays only, though private tours and tastings are available by appointment now.
Closer to Austin, Still Austin Whiskey Co., an urban whiskey distillery, is slated to open its doors at The Yard on St. Elmo Road very soon.