Tate & Co. Distillery

Crafting an American Dream

In 2008, Chip built the heart and soul of his first distillery with nothing more than a few dollars and the goodwill of friends. He breathed new life into an old welding building nestled under a bridge where he welded and pounded out his own copper stills. Those original stills, the two of them, sat toward the back of the distillery, against the wall, their squat onion shaped pots atop circular brick bases, their narrowing necks disappeared up into the gloom of the ceiling. And when those stills reached the end of their lives Chip, the craftsman, set out to hammer, weld, and handcraft four more.

Chip's newest venture, Tate & Company Distillery promises to be his most exciting chapter yet. Using the skills, expertise and relationships he has developed to date, Chip aspires to make Tate & Company a haven for the craft movement not only through his own distilling projects but through exciting collaborations with craft and artisan distillers around the world. After hand building what promises to be the most versatile craft distillery in the country in 2015, Chip and his crew aim to create a Texas brandy tradition using native and French-American hybrid grape varieties to create a bold new style of American brandy which will embody the spirit of Texas. The new distillery will benefit from lessons learned retaining the positive characteristics of Chip's early distilleries without the limitations.

In 2016, Chip will expand his scope relaunching the whiskies and rum for which he is well-known as well as several new styles of whisky. (But those are too secret to share!)

Craftsman, Dreamer, and Still-Maker

Chip Tate

Chip Tate

President and Head Distiller

Chip is an acknowledged leader in the craft distilling industry, having received more than 150 national and international awards, including US Craft Distillery of the Year and Global Distillery of the Year from the Wizards of Whisky International Competition in 2012. In recognition of his contributions to the development of the craft spirits industry, Whisky Magazine awarded him their inaugural Craft Whiskey Distillery of the Year Icon award in 2012, a category which he won again in 2014. In 2013, The Spirits Business named him a Grand Master of World Whisky. In 2014, at the prestigious World Whisky Awards in London, he won the Best Overall American Whisky category.

At the end of 2014, Chip embarked in a new strategic and creative direction, establishing Tate & Company Distillery and Chip Tate Craft Copperworks in Waco, Texas. Both entities were founded on the belief that independence and financial control are prerequisites for creative leadership. Tate Craft Copperworks will be the world’s first, distiller-led manufacturer and designer of artisanal copper pot stills and together with Tate & Company Distillery, will create and foster a new environment of creative collaboration for dedicated distillers around the world.

“Chip put a marker in the ground showing how a small-scale distillery could actually work.”

Dave Broom, author of The World Atlas of Whisky

Tate & Co. Distillery in the Media

Forbes
Forbes

The Guys Behind The Grain: Distillers Get Their Star Turn

"Pioneers like Chip Tate, founder of the Balcones distillery in Texas whose time there ended in acrimony, has since reimagined his career with Tate & Company Distillery, which will aim to make a mark with Texas brandy, whiskey and rum."

Southern Living
Southern Living

The South’s Best Distilleries

"Master distiller Charles “Chip” Tate started a spirited new chapter from scratch in 2015. After converting an 11,000-square-foot old barn into a distillery from the ground up, Chip focuses on crafting Texas brandies using locally sourced ingredients. Stay tuned for corn and malt whiskeys, including what Tate describes as “several new styles of whisky,” in the spring of 2016."

Popular Mechanics
Popular Mechanics

13 Brilliant Makers and Innovators You Need to Know Now

"Before he can make his new stills, Chip Tate has to make liquid-cooled welding gloves. Otherwise, the Texas whiskey-­maker might turn his hands into crisps as he builds the six copper stills for his new distillery, Tate & Company. "I'm one of the few that still uses direct fire as opposed to steam to heat the still," Tate says. "You have to use much thicker metal." That direct flame imparts subtle flavors, thanks to the additional heat it produces—anywhere from 500 to 800 degrees Fahrenheit. And that heat requires those special gloves. The radiation alone is enough to catch standard welding gloves on fire.

Tate didn't set out to be a still-maker. Seven years ago, when he was preparing to open his first distillery, Balcones Distilling, the stills he ordered needed modifications. So he did them himself. Since then Tate has continued to make his own equipment—an impressive feat considering he taught himself how to weld while "tinkering away" in his shop. Once Tate gets his new distillery running, he plans to build and sell stills to others. "I'm finally admitting I'm a still-maker," he says. "This is just something I do, apparently." Something he does very well, as legions of whiskey lovers will attest. ­— A. D. C."

Imbibe Magazine
Imbibe Magazine

People to Watch: Chip Tate

"... The new distillery features six pot stills, all built by Tate's own copperworks (which will enable him to custom make parts as needed, as well as serve as a sideline business). It will be housed in 35,000 square feel of facilities once completed, spread across five acres, with aging warehouses, a tasting room and space for public events. It's a lot of space for a startup but by stating big, Tate will be able to meet production demands while giving himself room to experiment."

Distiller Magazine
Distiller Magazine

Chip Tate: The Phoenix of Distilling, Re-Emerges

"Tate & Company Distillery is the next incarnation of Tate's dream: A new crew, a better facility and more capacity all offer opportunity for growth. With a stable financial foundation, along with a bounty of hard-won wisdom, forward motion is easier than looking back. Having a solid reputation and a network of supporters in the spirits industry also helps."

Garden & Gun
Garden & Gun

Brandy's Southern Return

"Strictly speaking, you can make brandy by distilling any kind of fermented fruit juice. But most of the time, when people say brandy they mean grape brandy—i.e., distilled wine. And therein lies another reason Southern brandy makes a whole lot of sense. An explosion in Southern wine production—the region today boasts 864 wineries—means there are plenty of grapes to go around. And the hot climate often produces grapes that are heavy with sugar, which can make for an overly sweet wine but is perfect for distilling. “Sugar isn’t a problem in Texas,” says Chip Tate, the founder and former owner of Balcones Distilling, who is developing a brandy for his new venture, the Waco-based Tate & Company Distillery."

WhiskyCast
WhiskyCast

WhiskyCast, Episode 577

Chip Tate is about to get back into the whisky business… We’ll talk with Chip Tate about his enforced hiatus from whisky-making, what he learned from the experience, and what he plans to do as soon as he can start firing up his new hand-made stills.

The Whiskey Wash
The Whiskey Wash

Chip Tate Talks Craft Whiskey, Texas And Mixing Art With Business

"Tate & Co. Distillery is the next step in an already stellar career from a master distiller and really it’s what I find most interesting coming out of the breakup at Balcones. The initial focus will be on crafting a local brandy tradition – something Tate has expressed interest in exploring before. He was quick to reference all that we had discussed up to this point regarding locally sourced and experimentation of flavors as an exciting function of the brandy he will be producing.

This will all build into 2016 when Tate & Co. Distillery will be jumping back into doing similar styles of corn whiskey, malt whiskey and a few other things to look forward to. One thing that will became abundantly clear in the years to come: you can throw a lot of adversity at Chip Tate, but you can’t keep the man from doing what he does best."

Waco Tribune Herald
Waco Tribune Herald

Balcones founder Tate building 2nd distillery from scratch

"True to form, Chip Tate is doing nothing the easy way as he turns an old contractor’s barn into Tate & Co. Distillery.

On a sweltering July afternoon last week, he was blasting a giant sheet of copper with a wand of blue flame to soften it so he could hammer it into a still.

Then he doffed his heavy leather jacket, wiped the sweat off his brow, took a sip of whiskey and gave a quick tour of the distillery he is building by hand at 7324 Steinbeck Bend Road.

He hopes late this year or early next year to be distilling a variety of liquors, starting with Texas brandies and adding whiskey next spring. And he plans to keep building stills to sell for the burgeoning craft distillery market.

Building a distillery from scratch is nothing new for Tate, nor is his attitude of DIY perfectionism. In 2008, he turned an old shed under a Waco bridge into Balcones Distilling Co., which quickly won international awards and publicity."