In the vast landscapes of the Lone Star State, a unique and robust culture of whiskey-making has emerged, blending age-old Texas tradition with innovation. The heart of what makes this movement resonate deeply with its consumers lies in sourcing ingredients from local Texas farms—an approach that not only pays homage to the state’s rich agricultural heritage, but also emphasizes the importance of sustainability in the whiskey-making process.

Texas whiskey has experienced a renaissance in recent years, with distilleries like Still Austin Whiskey Co. gaining recognition for their distinctive flavors and commitment to using local ingredients. What sets some Texan distilleries apart from others is their dedication to sourcing grains, water, and other essential elements from local farms, creating a true reflection of the terroir and character of Texas in every bottle.

By forging partnerships with local farmers, distilleries like Still Austin are not only supporting the Texas agricultural industry but also contributing to a more eco-friendly and ethical whiskey production process. Texas farmer Justin Crownover of Lonestar Family Farms takes  pride in his families’ generational commitment to sustainable agriculture, ensuring that the land and resources used in whiskey production are preserved for future generations.

Justin claims that sourcing grains locally is a cornerstone of this sustainable approach. Distilleries collaborate with farmers who grow grains like white corn, wildfire barley, and brasetto rye—fostering a connection between the land, the people who tend to it, and the final product. This not only reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation but also allows distillers to have greater control over the quality of the grains used in their whiskey, all while supporting local farms to help solidify them as strong players in the agricultural market.

Still Austin—known for their small-batch, handcrafted whiskey—have made it a priority to work closely with local farmers like Justin and others to source the finest Texas-grown grains. This commitment to using local ingredients is reflected in the depth and complexity of their whiskey, as the flavors embody the unique characteristics of the Texan terroir. Their Straight Rye Whiskey, also known as “The Artist”, exemplifies the type of excellence that sourcing ingredients grain-to-glass across the Texas panhandle is known for. In 2023, it was awarded Double Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

After the whiskey is barreled, Still Austin uses the wild Texas weather to their advantage. As all of us who’ve spent time in Texas know, the climate is that of legend. Still Austin has recorded a temperature change within their rickhouses of 56 degrees in a mere 24 hours. With these rapid temperature changes, the whiskey expands and contracts in the barrels at much higher rates than in other climates. It is because of these erratic climate swings that being aged in Texas is so crucial to the whiskey process—the juice is able to take on so many complex flavors and characteristics much quicker than anywhere else in the world. 

The importance of using local, sustainable ingredients goes beyond the environmental impact; it also fosters a sense of community and shared identity. By supporting local farmers, distilleries like Still Austin are investing in the economic well-being of the state and creating a narrative that resonates with consumers who value authenticity and a connection to their surroundings.

As consumers become increasingly conscious of the environmental and social implications of their choices, the Texas whiskey industry’s dedication to local sourcing and sustainability positions it as a leader in the broader movement toward responsible and mindful consumption. The whiskey that Texans enjoy today is not just a product of craftsmanship; it’s a testament to the commitment of distillers to preserve the land, support local communities, and craft a spirit that truly embodies the spirit of Texas.

Learn more about the handcrafted selections from Still Austin Whiskey Co.. and a behind the scenes look at their 100% Grain to Glass process.