The fast-growing brand Milam & Greene Whiskey has completed an extensive expansion of its Blanco, Texas-based distillery.
The multi-million-dollar project encompasses all operations at the Milam & Greene Whiskey distillery, including new distilling equipment, increased distillery footprint, and new warehousing facilities, as well as updates to its tasting room.
“These updates to the Milam & Green facilities in the Texas Hill Country were critical in realizing our long-term business plans, as we have grown on average more than 70 percent each year since we introduced the brand just before the pandemic, at the end of 2019,” says Milam & Greene Whiskey CEO and Master Blender, Heather Greene. “Our production — which is managed by 30-year whiskey veteran and master distiller, Marlene Holmes — has increased more than seven times since we launched in order to meet national demand for our prized bourbon and rye whiskies.”
The expansion includes the installation of a new 1,000-gallon Vendome copper pot still, which will sit alongside an existing 300-gallon Vendome copper pot still, new boilers, fermenters, and mash tuns in an additional 1,600 square feet of space that was added to the existing distillery footprint.
“It was Vendome or nothing,” says Holmes, whose team distills Milam & Greene Whiskey in both the home distillery in Texas and at Bardstown Bourbon Company in Kentucky using the same mash bill and yeast recipe. “Our small-production Vendome copper pot still will yield a rich and robust character that will eventually be bottled as our Distillery Edition Bourbon, in addition to being used to marry with our whiskey from the larger column stills in Kentucky for our Triple Cask Bourbon.”
The new still will increase Texas-based production to more than 1,000 barrels per year on one shift. “Anything larger than that would create too much of a change in the organoleptic profile,” says Greene. “While still a relatively small production by Kentucky standards, the bespoke pot still is a lot of where our magic lies and we can’t wait to play with it.”
Milam & Greene is now aging its bourbon and rye barrels in a new, second, non-climate controlled rickhouse that spans 4,000 square feet and will house an additional 2,000 barrels. The new rickhouse is used to age Milam & Greene’s Kentucky and Texas distillate, as well as sourced whiskey barrels from two other states. The Port wine puncheons that age the Port Cask Finished Rye will also be transferred to the new warehouse.
Along with increasing production, Milam & Greene Whiskey has added jobs at the distillery to handle the expansion. Industry veteran Rikk Munroe joined the team as the new distillery manager. He is responsible for overseeing everything from inventory, barrels, mashing, fermenting, distilling and aging. The team has also added two distillers to run mashing, fermentation, and distillation, as well as new staff members to help with barrel management and movement, bottling and labeling.
The Milam & Greene tasting room received a makeover with an extension built onto the existing tasting room to create more seating, and a merchandise area to create an even better experience for whiskey fans. Brenda Fisher was promoted to tasting room manager and is responsible for cocktail ideation, menu creation, staffing, special events, management of the bartender team, and engaging customers with her Texas Hill Country charm.
The expansion was celebrated with a grand re-opening on March 4, with a ribbon cutting, live music and the release of the distillery-exclusive, grain-to-glass Distillery Edition Batch 4 Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
“We’re excited about the growth of Milam & Greene Whiskey and our ability to satisfy the thirst of whiskey drinkers around the country — from casual sippers to hardcore whiskey collectors,” says Greene. “Our new facilities are focused on delighting our customers near and far by creating the best whiskey possible.”