The Best Single Malt Whisky in the World Is Made In Waco, Texas

Chip Tate
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The best single malt whisky in the world is made in Waco, Texas.  Specifically in a former welding shop under a bridge.  Today, CaliforniaWineFan departs from our exclusive focus to honor the single-malt whisky market.  From Forbes.com, here’s a description of the location:

A quarter mile from downtown Waco, Texas, in a neighborhood of long abandoned storefronts, is a small, rusted-metal shed hidden beneath the 17th Street Bridge. The one-time welding shop sits in between the overpass’ enormous support pillars, next to a white trailer. It’s a safe bet none of the drivers know they’re speeding over the worldwide headquarters of Balcones Distilling, the maker of the finest new whiskey in America.

Owner Chip Tate is part of the growing artisanal spirits industry in the U.S.  More from Forbes:

Balcones’ arrival was first heralded by its distiller-of-the-year awards in 2012 (from Whisky Magazine and the Craft Distillers’ Association) and then by the single malt’s first-place finish in the 2012 Best in Glass competition, a British contest that names the best whisky released each year. Balcones was the first American distiller to capture the highest honor, defeating such venerable brands as Johnnie Walker, Macallan and Balvenie. The underdog victory was reminiscent of the so-called “Judgment of Paris,” a 1976 blind taste test in which California Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay for the first time defeated a slew of French wineries. Moreover, the win showed that the finest new whiskey in the world doesn’t come from Scotland or Japan or Bourbon County, but from under a bridge in Waco.

Congratulations to Mr. Tate for competing in a very exclusive field.  A few decades back I was a big fan of single-malts.  I may just have to break down and try Balcones’s product.  And, a note to Forbes writer Abram Brown about this:

It is the unmatured form of his Texas Single Malt Whisky—Tate prefers the Scottish spelling, without the “e”—the drink that put Balcones on the map.

Ahem.  Whisky is the word used to describe what many countries call Scotch.  Whiskey refers to all other spirits distilled from a grain mash.  Bourbon, rye, and similar products are whiskey.  Mr. Tate is making whisky.

About the author

Tony Lima has been a California wine fan since arriving in California from the east coast in 1974. He's lived the growth and expansion of the West Coast industry first hand. He's seen the fickle California Wine consumer fads pop up and burst... the craze for Zinfandel, then oaky Chardonnay, then Merlot, now Pinot Noir. On behalf of fellow Californian oenophiles, he hunts for great pinot noir and great values in pinot noir all along the West Coast. His day job is Professor of Economics at California State University located in Hayward. His undergrad degree in chemical engineering (MIT) and his MBA (Harvard) and Ph.D. Economics (Stanford) are the root of his interest in the Business of Wine. He is a card-carrying member of the AAWE - American Association of Wine Economists.

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