Whiskey Hollow Distillery smells like magic, sounds like Texas, and exists on the value of paying it forward. Housed in an old bank building, once rumored to have been robbed by Bonnie and Clyde, the small, one-still craft distillery sits right off the freeway in the quaint Valley View town square. Owner Les Beasley makes everything from bourbon, rum, and even moonshine. But the award-winning spirits, friendly bartenders, and distinctive atmosphere are not the only things that make Whiskey Hollow a must-see experience. The sense of honor, dedication to making the finest spirits, and a desire to support the community are the real draws. At Whiskey Hollow, it is not about the almighty dollar but about one man’s bucket list dream to make the finest whiskey in Texas and give back to his community, state, and country.
No Longer Just a Bucket List
“I’m going to do something fun,” Beasley said. “I’ve always wanted to build a distillery. So, I took over the old bank building, and Valley View was just as dead as a doornail.”
When Beasley had extra spending money, he bought material, to ensure he never went into debt. It was a hobby, after all. It is said that people in the town would see the distiller up until early morning hours, working away on his still and chasing his dream.
“If you would have told me [that by] January 2018 I would be building one of the largest distilleries west of the Mississippi, I would have said you’re crazy,” he said. “But here we are.”
Whiskey Hollow offers a range of spirits: Texas gold whiskey, white whiskey, rum, bourbon, moonshine, flavored moonshine, and a brand-new Texas vodka. Beasley and his bartenders have plenty of recommendations and recipes for all their spirits. Guests can participate in tours of the distillery, taste samples, and enjoy a personalized drinking experience. The tasting room is lined with flavored moonshines ranging from cinnamon, apple, and dill pickle. The room cannot accommodate a huge crowd, giving it a more intimate feel. The bars are made of wood and barrels line one wall. Everything is centered around the still, large and ever-present behind the bar.
“[The still is] called a Double Thumper,” Beasley said. “And those aren’t lined with anything. Those are real, charred white oak bourbon barrels.”
Beasley is proud of his distillery, and rightfully so. He is eager to educate and chat with his patrons. All are welcome, whether they have never tasted whiskey or drink whiskey occasionally. Beasley will teach guests the correct way to taste it. Here is a hint: it takes four sips to taste a whiskey. And what does it pair best with? According to Beasley, it is friendship and a Texas sunset.
The Whiskey Hollow Way
Using the finest, locally-sourced ingredients and sharing kindness might be the two most important components of Whiskey Hollow.
“I literally search all over Texas for the types of grains that I want,” Beasley said.
He commonly uses an analogy about his wife’s pecan pie: using the best pecans, no matter the price, is important. The quality of ingredients in anything matters most, he will tell you. Beasley searches high and low until he finds the perfect Texas ingredients to make his spirits.
“I don’t want to benefit someone in Missouri and make [customers] believe it’s from Texas,” he said. “And it’s going to help Texas with that basic mentality.”
Beasley and Whiskey Hollow are always looking for ways to expand. The new unfiltered vodka, Frosted Star, is adding to Whiskey Hollow’s line of quality spirits and, of course, contributing to Beasley’s charitable objective.
“We’re going to take the Frosted Star and pay it forward,” Beasley said. “There’s a good chunk of the profits going to the Medal of Honor Foundation and Sky Ball.”
But expansion does not end with the line of spirits. Whiskey Hollow has a bright, prominent future.
Plans for the Future
Beasley’s plans for Whiskey Hollow are as large as the Texas sky. The Whiskey Hollow expansion will be located up the road from the Valley View tasting room, in Muenster. It is not hard to locate, as the building, which looks notably similar to the Alamo, seemingly appears in the middle of nowhere. The 43-feet-tall distillery is a sight to behold. It was built with eight tractor-trailer loads of hand-chopped stone.
After breaking ground in June of 2018, Beasley set his mind on completing his expansion. “I cut off distribution a year ago because I wanted to concentrate on this,” he said. But not to worry; bottles can still be purchased at the Valley View tasting room. Every day he inches closer to the highly anticipated spring opening. The Valley View tasting room will remain open, and the Muenster location will bring not only Whiskey Hollow’s award-winning spirits, but an array of food, an event and banquet venue, Biergarten, and, most importantly, more jobs for the community.
“If I’m going to do anything here in Texas, I want it to benefit the Texas farmers and the local folks,” Beasley said.
And he means it. There will be a 23-foot pizza oven that can cook eight pizzas in under 90 seconds. The toppings, sauces, and cheeses will all be sourced locally, thus fueling local businesses. Staffing the enormous complex will create more job opportunities, as well. These choices not only benefit the town and state he loves but also exemplify paying it forward.
“Do good,” he said. “Help other people get what they want.”
The only way to truly grasp what Whiskey Hollow stands for, what it means to Beasley, and what it means to the community, is to experience it firsthand. Let Beasley teach you about whiskey and share his story with passion in his voice. See the military challenge coins on the wall and the signed barrels. Hear the Texas country music, smell the magic, and let the bartenders suggest their favorite drink. Beasley’s note on the side of his brand-new Frosted Star vodka bottle sums up not only what his brand stands for but what he values most.
“Let’s never forget 3-6-1836. A thirteen-day siege ended with 182 to 257 Texas defenders dead at the Alamo,” Beasley said. “They fought to the death, sacrificing their lives for the hope of liberty and freedom for all Texans, paying it forward to our living and former servicemen and women. The freedoms we cherish in Texas, America, and around the world are a true blessing from God bathed in your blood and sacrifice. It is an honor for me to say, ‘thank you.’ Before this bottle seal is broken, please hold it high. Toast our defenders. Our freedom. God bless Texas. Remember the Alamo.”