Texas Is Becoming Known for Its Spirits

Tito's vodka and other Texas-made liquors are gaining popularity

By Scott Gordon
|  Friday, Jun 10, 2011  |  Updated 11:45 PM CDT
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Tito's is gobbling up market share of the vodka business, and it's not the only Texas-made spirit becoming popular.

Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com

Tito's is gobbling up market share of the vodka business, and it's not the only Texas-made spirit becoming popular.

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Move over, Grey Goose and Smirnoff.

Texas-made Tito’s is gobbling up share in the vodka business nationwide, and it’s hardly the only spirit made in Texas that’s quickly making a name for itself.

“I think it’s great,” said Packy Watson, a customer at Monticello Liquor Store on Central Expressway. “I think Texas ought to be in the liquor business.”

So many new Texas brands of vodka, rum and whiskey are coming out, Monticello’s owner Mike O'Halloran can hardly keep up.

"Every time I turn around, they have a new one,” he said.

O’Halloran said Tito’s has become his hottest-selling vodka in the last year.

Tito’s is made in Austin at the oldest legal distillery in Texas. Tito is Tito Beveridge, a one-time geologist and mortgage banker who decided to get into the liquor business.

He’s not alone.

A few years ago, Dan Garrison turned part of his cattle ranch near Austin into a 24-hour-a-day, 6-day-a-week distillery.

Using Texas rain right from their own roof, Garrison Brothers is making the first legal bourbon in Texas.

"It's authentic; it's the real deal; we do it all by hand,” Garrison recently told KXAN-TV in Austin. “Every single bottle that we produce, we've made ourselves, and it's a lot of work."

They grind grain from the Texas panhandle, cook it, ferment it and put the brand-new batch of bourbon into barrels.

"We do it from corn to cork,” Garrison said.

Back in Dallas, customer Ben Richbourg said he likes the taste -- and the price -- of Texas-made liquor. He recently switched to Tito’s.

"My favorite used to be Grey Goose,” he said. “But I'm getting the same amount for about two-thirds the price buying Tito’s, so you know what? I'm pretty happy with this."

Liquor store owners such as O’Halloran said they’re proud to sell made-in-Texas products.

"Our economy is great, and and we got a lot of pride, so drink up, you know?" he said.

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