The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2014

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november 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  1 1 1 J ust days before the grand opening of the Deep Eddy Vodka Distillery and Tasting Room in early October, co-founder Chad Auler welcomes THE TASTING PANEL to an exclusive first look inside the new facility. Sitting at the eastern edge of the Texas Hill Country, Dripping Springs (population 1,788) is 15 minutes from downtown Austin (where Deep Eddy Vodka was born), but it still feels far enough away from almost everything except oak and cedar trees, soft rolling hills and fresh-water springs bubbling up from the ground. The area is home to artists and craftsmen, as well as a growing number of small wineries, breweries and distilleries. On most weekends, the local roads in and out of Dripping Springs are swollen with tourists. "One of the wineries nearby saw 200,000 visitors last year; another one saw 250,000. Yes, we saw the growth trends here," says Auler, who adds that Deep Eddy Vodka is still very much about Austin. "The corporate offices are in Austin. We have our other production facility there, so we're still an Austin-based company and brand. But this new space is a real showcase for us." The 35,000-square-foot facility sits on four acres. Inside, the new bottling line and packag- ing equipment are already up and running. There's warehouse space filling up and plenty of activity at the truck docks: It's your standard- issue distillery, except, perhaps, for the undeni- able aroma of cranberries. "I love that smell," Auler says while pointing out the various components of the production process. "I always know the days when we're bottling the Cranberry Vodka." New Facilities, New Potential Deep Eddy Vodka produces roughly 400,000 cases annually of its four-product lineup (Straight Vodka, Sweet Tea, Ruby Red Grapefruit and Cranberry), but the new facility is capable of increasing that volume to two million cases a year. Making three of the hottest-selling flavored vodkas in the country—Ruby Red Grapefruit, Sweet Tea and Cranberry—is certainly driving much of the brand's growth, and an important factor for staying ahead of that growth is the new custom-built column still (Auler has always preferred the continuous process of a column to a pot still for producing vodka). Standing 20 feet tall, this recent addition is virtually identical to the still that remains in operation in Austin, except it's wider to double the capacity. Production is only one part of the new facility, however, and Auler is quite excited about opening Deep Eddy Vodka co-founder Chad Auler stands beside his custom-built column still, inside the new 35,000-square-foot distillery, just outside Austin. The L-shaped bar at Deep Eddy's new Tasting Room reflects the brand's inviting and approachable character. Visitors can drink the product straight up or in specialty cocktails.

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