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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.

Whiskycast – February 20, 2016

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.”

Garden & Gun; February/March 2016 Issue

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.”

Imbibe Magazine, January/February 2016

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.”

Popular Mechanics

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.”

The Whiskey Wash

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