By Richard Thomas
In the first major, visible change since the controversial departure of co-founder Chip Tate from Texas distillery Balcones, the company received a brand new set of Forsyth’s-made copper pot stills yesterday, according to The Waco Tribune. The stills were installed at the old Fireproof Storage Building, soon to be the new $15 million home of Balcones.
Part of the Balcones charm was in its image as a genuine homemade start-up, with Tate and his early partners cobbling together the copper and building their still themselves. The distillery has won great acclaim since its start in 2008, and demand for its products now greatly exceeds the distillery’s ability to meet it. The new equipment is expected to increase production to somewhere between three and four times current levels.
Ambitions at Balcones extend far beyond quadrupling production, however. The new facility has space to add as many as six more stills of the same size.
At the time of Tate’s departure, many whiskey pundits predicted demand for Balcones would collapse as enthusiasts turned their backs on Balcones and followed Tate to his new venture. In the 10 months since then, statistics and developments have clearly shown no such thing has happened.