In the last decade, the Lone Star State has experienced a whiskey boom. Ask any bartender, including Caudebec, and they’ll tell you that Texas, particularly Austin and the nearby Texas Hill Country, is home to some of the best craft whiskeys in the nation. And of the growing crop of new distilleries, one of the region’s clear standouts is Milam & Greene: an independent, women-owned whiskey brand.
These five new grain-to-glass releases are proof that the state’s still-young whiskey industry is developing a bold regional profile.
The Lone Star State, the largest in terms of square mileage in the continental U.S. as well as one of its most populous, encompasses a wide range of home-grown spirits. In other words, don’t mess with Texas.
Marlene Holmes grew up in Kentucky and never planned on leaving. But when a new career opportunity came her way at age 62, she ditched retirement plans to hike and garden more and instead moved to Blanco, Texas. She couldn’t pass up an offer to work as master distiller for Milam & Greene Whiskey.
American whiskey is a tricky business. Staying in the know about bourbon, blends, and the wild West of American single malt is a challenge in normal times, and more so while we’re largely left to explore and share experiences inside. In these times, the best way to stay up to date with the latest whiskey releases and cultural tips is online.
In Texas, where craft distillers switched operations to produce millions of gallons of hand sanitizer for healthcare workers, obsolete legislation is still preventing them from selling directly to consumers. Despite the obstacles, the state’s bourbon distillers continue solidifying the quality of this growing spirits category and earning international acclaim.
Milam & Greene, the distilling duo out of Blanco, Texas, has just released the first of its Texas Hill Country Limited Edition Series, a grain-to-glass straight bourbon whiskey, this past week in the midst of the pandemic. This first limited-edition bottle, a labor of love by the team with veteran Kentucky master distiller Marlene Holmes at the helm, is a fine example of what they dub “true American whiskey with a Texas heart.”
Milam & Greene Whiskey, a higher end line up unveiled last year from Ben Milam Whiskey, has a number of whiskeys already in its stable that represent its in house style of whiskey making. The brand is going deeper now into making Texas whiskey, unveiling its first grain to glass, limited edition expression that also falls under the qualifications for being a Certified Texas Whiskey.
Renowned whiskey authority Heather Greene’s career has centered around promoting the enjoyment of spirits. For two years, as whiskey sommelier, she was the director of whiskey education at the famed Flatiron Room in New York. She is also author of the invaluable Whisk(e)y Distilled: A Populist Guide to the Water of Life.
Ask any Texan, myself included, what they’re most proud of from their home state and you’re sure to get an emphatic answer. It might be the savory barbecue served up everywhere from fine dining restaurants to the roadside shacks, or the uncrowded, seemingly-endless national parks, or simply the beautiful, expansive, star-filled night sky. Or it might be the whiskey.
In the latest episode of Taste Kitchen, Paul Barron hosts a whiskey lab with Heather Greene—the chief executive officer, partner, and master blender for distillery Milam & Greene Whiskey. Barron and Greene sample and discuss the smooth, yet refined blends of two Milam & Greene Whiskey offerings: a triple cask bourbon, and a port finished rye whiskey.
A rising star in Central Texas, Milam & Greene...
Many people may associate whiskey with men in old movies, who usually drink the liquor straight up. Today’s top whiskey experts, however, are a far cry from that stereotype, and are working to make whiskey drinking less intimidating and more available for beginners.
Milam & Greene Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Casks won a Double Gold in its first year on the market, while Ben Milam Barrel Proof Straight Bourbon has been recognized with a Gold or Double Gold medal for three years in a row. The prestigious Double Gold designation is awarded when every judge on the panel declares the entry as a Gold Medal winner.
With much of the world practicing social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus, many daily habits have changed, from commuting to childcare to mealtimes. Whisky lovers, too, are adapting to the new order by converting in-person tastings to virtual meetups, and visiting distilleries digitally rather than actually traveling there. The ongoing isolation is giving every drinker a chance to kick half-consumed bottles, revisit comforting old favorites, and even pull down the special stuff—because if not now, when?
Ben Milam Whiskey Honors a Texas Revolutionary
“The Blanco-based distillery is known for its award-winning bourbons”
Ben Milam Whiskey Building Women Lead Dream Team…
“In 2018 Marsha Milam, founder of Ben Milam Whiskey Distillery in Blanco, Texas hired former Jim Beam distiller Marlene Holmes. Now, Milam has announced the hiring of world-renowned whiskey expert and author Heather Greene as the distilleries new Chief Executive Officer. Greene is the author of Whiskey Distilled: A Populist Guide to the Water of Life.”
Texas’ Ben Milam Whiskey Hires Whiskey Author Heather Greene As CEO
“Texas whiskey distiller Ben Milam Whiskey has been hard at work over the last year attracting some strong named talent to run their shop.”
Ben Milam Whiskey names Heather Greene CEO
“With Greene at the helm, Ben Milam Whiskey aims to expand its portfolio with the release of a new line of premium whiskeys this summer, called Milam and Greene.“
Sultry Tips: 10 Best Camping Whiskeys
“When it comes to some of the best whiskey, Ben Milam distillery from Blanco, Texas has won double gold for their bourbon two years in a row.”
Jim Beam Distiller Joins Texas Distillery
“I’m very proud of Marlene, and I’m thrilled she’s chosen to join Ben Milam,” said Milam. “I have tremendous confidence in our product and I know she will contribute greatly to the quality of our whiskey.”
Jim Beam Distiller Marlene Holmes Goes Craft Spirits Route With Move To Ben Milam Whiskey Distillery
“When I met the team, I was quickly drawn to their passion and determination to make a really good product,” said Holmes “I’ve been in the business for over 27 years, and this is the best whiskey I’ve ever put in my mouth.”
“A Career Change? I’ll Drink To That!”
Ms. Milam said a young woman approached her at a recent tasting. “She said, ‘I think for women, drinking whiskey is the last frontier of equality,’” Ms. Milam said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I love you.’”
Marsha Milam Is Changing The Whiskey Game.
“Whether she’s promoting a new musical group or founding a whiskey distillery, Marsha Milam has never been one to sit on the sidelines.”
FoodieFriday: Blanco’s Milam Distillery
“Marsha Milam was raised by an oilman who also owned liquor stores, who early on taught his daughter that liquor was a solid business choice, with stable demand in good times and bad.”