Treaty Oak Distilling Tour

Treaty Oak Distilling in Dripping Springs, Texas, offers a multifaceted experience with its distillery, brewery, and winery, complemented by a restaurant, bars and entertainment spaces. Visitors can enjoy tours, tastings, and a variety of activities on the spacious grounds. The distillery’s commitment to local sourcing and transparency in their production process, along with innovative aging techniques, makes for a distinctive and enjoyable visit.
Treaty Oak Distillery
16604 Fitzhugh Rd
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
512-387-5822
https://www.treatyoakdistilling.com
Distillery Tour / Review

Please enjoy our Treaty Oak Distilling Distillery Tour Review!

Treaty Oak Is A Winery, Distillery, Brewery, Bar, Entertainment Venue & Restaurant
Treaty Oak Distilling Road Signs

Treaty Oak Distilling was founded in 2006 by Daniel Barnes, becoming the fourth distillery to operate in Texas. In 2016, in order to accommodate continuing expansion, Barnes moved the distillery to its current location, 28 acres in Dripping Springs, Texas. Treaty Oak Distillery is unique in that it not only has a license for making distilled spirits, but it is also licensed to produce beer and wine.

In addition to the distillery, a small brewery operates on site, as well as a restaurant (Alice’s Restaurant), an open air cocktail bar (The Rickhouse), and a visitor center/tasting bar (now called the Mercantile).Wine is not made on-site, but is sourced from Kuhlman Cellars in nearby Stonewall, Texas. Locally grown heirloom grain is ground at Barton Springs Mill, which is located on the ranch in their newly constructed mill. Since our visit in 2020, they have also opened an onsite malting facility and bakery.

Plenty of Space To Enjoy Whatever Suits You

The grounds are spacious, with plenty of places to relax with friends and enjoy any one of Treaty Oak’s carefully crafted spirits, cocktails, or beers. Play a game of cornhole, listen to local live music on weekends, or just enjoy the great outdoors. There’s a little something here for everyone. Our visit was on a weekday, and there were only a few other visitors on the grounds. On weekends, we were told, hundreds of people come to enjoy the facilities, the food and of course the spirits.

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Our Tour

Our visit was in January 2020, shortly before the world shut down. So, things at Treaty Oak Distilling may have changed a bit since then. As of June 2024, tours are offered Fridays at 6 pm, Saturdays from noon to 5 pm, and Sundays at 2 & 4 pm. We purchased our distillery tour tickets in The Tasting Room, which also serves as the merchandise store, bottle shop, bar and visitor center. I believe this area has been renamed the Mercantile. The building is unique, as it originally operated as llama barn.

We met our tour guide, Eden, at the bar. A complimentary cocktail (or mocktail) is offered with each tour ticket purchased. Beverages are allowed/encouraged on the tour, so we gladly accepted. Our tour left the Tasting Room (Mercantile) and headed to the distillery, just a short walk away. En route, we passed The Rickhouse, which is an open air cocktail bar serving Treaty Oak’s beers, cocktails made with their spirits, and tastings. At the time of our visit, it was open Friday-Sunday only, and because our visit was early in the week, its large sliding doors were closed.

Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

The Treaty Oak Distillery

Once inside the distillery, just past the entrance, we entered a small tasting bar. This was originally where all tastings took place, but it is no longer sufficient and is now only used for certain tours and special events. Tastings for everyone else are provided in either the Tasting Room (Mercantile) where our tour began, or at The Rickhouse.

Grains are obtained predominantly from local farmers and are milled at Barton Springs Mill, which as previously mentioned, recently moved to a two acre plot on the ranch. Grains are cooked in a single large cooker or “mash tun”. The hatch, valves and pipes on top are accessed via a large spiral staircase. Fermentation then takes place in a row of 5 large fermenters.

Frootbat - Making hard to find liquor easy to buy

Treat Oak Distillery’s Stills

There are multiple stills on-site, from small gin stills to the new column still, which had been in operation for a year and a half at the time of our visit, and since has become the workhouse of the distillery. Interestingly, the still was a bit larger than expected, and a hole needed to be cut in the roof of the distillery to accommodate it. Oddly enough it’s not the first time we’ve seen this happen.

Gin Stills - Treaty Oak Distillery
Gin Stills
The Rickhouse(s) at Treaty Oak Distilling

Aging of the bourbon takes place on-site, and at the time of our visit, there was only one rickhosue. The rickhouse could accommodate 4000 barrels, and was just about at capacity, so there were plans to build another. Due to space constraints, the barrel aged gin was temporarily being stored outside.

Palletized Barrels in the Treaty Oak Distillery Rickhouse
Palletized Barrel Storage

Treaty Oak Distillery uses palletized barrel storage, something that is now fairly common, however, at the time, we hadn’t previously encountered it. In Treaty Oak Distillery’s palletized rickhouse, barrels are stored standing on their ends atop wooden pallets, as a cost and space saving technique. The bung hole (the hole through which barrels are filled and emptied) is in the barrel head, rather than on the side as in distilleries using traditional ricks. Barrels are constructed for Treaty Oak by Kelvin Cooperage, in Louisville, KY. Bottling takes place back inside the distillery building, and is done by hand, using a four bottle filler.

Bottling Line - Treaty Oak Distilling
Bottling Line – Treaty Oak Distilling
The Tasting

The tour ended where it began, in The Tasting Room. Appropriately, it was then time for our tasting. Generous samples of Treaty Oak’s gins, bourbons and rye were provided, allowing us to fully experience and enjoy the spirits.

Tasting - Treaty Oak Distillery
Tasting – Treaty Oak Distillery
The Spirits of Treaty Oak Distilling

Treaty Oak Distillery produces both gin (Waterloo Gin) and bourbon. There are two lines of bourbon, Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon Whiskey, which is distilled on-site, and Red Handed Bourbon Whiskey, which is sourced. Two versions of the Red Handed Bourbon Whiskey were available during our visit, however, currently the only version is Whiskey Myers Red Handed Bourbon, which is sourced from Kentucky. We also sampled Red Handed Rye Whiskey, which was 10 years old and sourced from the Schenley Distillery in Canada. The name of this rye has since changed to Schenley Reserve Rye, and it is now aged 12 years. It’s refreshing to see the distillery’s transparency regarding those products which they do not actually distill.

The folks at Treaty Oak Distilling are also doing some innovative experiments. One, for example, which I sampled (and purchased) was a version of their Ghost Hill Texas Bourbon Whiskey named “Resurrected”. This bourbon was aged underground, resulting in some very unique flavors. All bottles are available for purchase in the Mercantile, which, as of June 2024, is open Wednesdays through Sundays. However, bottles are spirits may not be sold in Texas on Sundays.

Bar in the Tasting Room (Mercantile)
Bar in the Tasting Room (Mercantile)
Conclusion – Treaty Oak Distillery Tour Review

A visit to Treaty Oak Distilling certainly has plenty to offer. Whether it’s a tour or a taste, a cocktail or a bite to eat, this family friendly (including the four legged members) ranch is certainly worth the trip. Oh, and the bourbon is pretty good, too!

We hope you have enjoyed our Treaty Oak Distilling Distillery Tour Review! Would you like to learn about a couple of other Texas distilleries? Then check out our Still Austin and Ironroot Republic Distillery tour reviews!

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