Driftwood, Texas based distillery, bar, and spirit brand
Who built the business: “Judson Kauffman, former Marine fighter pilot Brent Looby, and former military intelligence analyst Ryan Campbell” met at The University of Texas’ McCombs MBA program with a shared entrepreneurial passion. The trio became the first in the nation to develop a now rapidly-growing sotol distillery, Desert Door Texas Sotol, in 2017 shortly after graduating.
Why a sotol spirit: The founders identified a unique opportunity to capitalize on the growing demand for tequila and mezcal when they launched their start-up “in a rare category of spirits, that, although brand-new to most American palates, has a rich history.”
What it tastes like: As explained on the company’s site, “‘Sotol’ is both a name of our spirit and the desert succulent we make it from. On the nose you’ll find it’s a lot like a premium tequila. On the lips, it’s a different story – orange zest, vanilla and green grass give way to a finish that is smooth like custard – way smoother than any tequila.”
Austin, without question, is going through some serious growing pains. Who isn’t moving to this great Texas capital? With growth and change comes a craving for Austin roots and this start-up delivers. Its commitment to creating a sense of place is unquestionable.
I recently visited the distillery’s bar with my freshman year roommate and have to say it may have been my favorite new Austin bar of the trip … and it’s not even in Austin.