#TXVoices: Jason and Justin Jackson, Tahwahkaro Whiskey Distillers

by Gracie Watt on July 14, 2020 in Food+Drink, Drink, Living Texas,
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Brothers Jason and Justin Jackson are making their mark in Grapevine, Texas, distilling grain-to-glass with their award winning business, Tahwahkaro Distilling Company.

Based in historic Grapevine (centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth), Tahwahkaro Distilling Company is a small batch grain-to-glass distillery founded by two brothers who are only a year or so apart in age. Pure, clean water, Texas-sourced corn, wheat, rye, malts and honesty are at the heart of TAH whiskey.  Along with a deep mutual respect between the two Jackson brothers.

Brothers Jason (left) and Justin Jackson with their stills at Tahwahkaro Distilling Company. Courtesy photo

Tahwahkaro prides itself on being a grain forward distilling company.  Which means, throughout each step of the process, they strive to keep the simplicity of every grain out front.  Jason Jackson explains the significance of this form of manufacturing, “Grain-to-glass is exactly what it implies. We actually do the work… “ There is an industry standard for buying spirits from a big distillery and then bottling whiskey and selling it as your own, he explains. “That model is plagued with businesses not being completely upfront with the consumer. We did not take that path. We wanted to make every drop ourselves, and stay with the Truly Craft movement.” 

The brothers now call Texas home, but they did not always live in the great state, as they moved around a lot during their early years. The Jacksons grew up sons of a preacher and lived all over the United States, moving 12 times. However, Texas always felt special, they say, mainly because of the people.

Ingredients for Tahwahkaro’s Four Grain Bourbon Whiskey are all Texas-sourced.
Photo courtesy Tahwahkaro Distilling Company

“My brother got bit by the distilling bug first,” explains younger brother, Justin Jackson. “He started a distillery in Colorado, which really intrigued me. I liked what he was doing and I began formulating a plan on how I could do the same in Texas.” Having realized his vision, “It’s even better now that my brother has joined me,” he says. They now produce award-winning bourbon and rye whiskey at Tahwahkaro, in the state they love and call home, Texas.  

After much planning and preparation the Jackson brothers began distilling in 2017. Thanks to the Texas climate their first product was released in 2019. Their two-year aged Tahwahkaro Barrel Strength Bourbon recently took home a silver medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Barrels aging at the Tahwahkaro Distilling Company in Grapevine, Texas. Courtesy photo

 The original Caddo Nation word for Grapevine springs, Tahwahkaro,  means a “bend in the river,” and the brothers’ lives could be described the same way. Before they opened the company, Justin raced and sold bicycles until a near-fatal car accident sidelined him. It was this accident that propelled his dream of starting a distillery. He turned to his brother for guidance and they set out to make Tahwahkaro a reality.

Jason has felt the positive bend in the river of life as well, explaining that, in his opinion, “a distillery is one of the greatest things in the world to build”. Naturally, as brothers, there are disagreements and different opinions. However, “we are family, and we always seem to come back together out of a mutual respect for each other and our different opinions.” Despite the challenge of working with family, says Jason, ”The most important thing is that we’ve been able to get out of our comfort zone and see a different mindset.”

“We are so excited to see our fan base grow as our whiskey matures,” Justin explains. “To be living here together in Texas and producing quality whiskey, really is a dream come true.”

Fans will also soon have their dreams realized as the Jackson brothers are looking forward to an upcoming “four grain” style whiskey and many other positive bends in the Tahwahkaro river.

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Cover photo courtesy Tahwahkaro Distilling Company

Gracie Watt is the Digital Intern at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and a junior at St. Edward’s University in Austin, studying Journalism. When she’s not writing, Watt enjoys singing, playing the guitar and doing volunteer work. @gracie.whatt