Western Son Vodka
217 West Division St.
Pilot Point 76258
Western Son offers tours on Saturdays at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. It also hosts a concert series throughout the year on its outdoor stage. Remaining concerts this year include Jason Boland and the Stragglers on Aug. 11, a yet unnamed band on Sept. 22, Jack Ingram on Oct. 13 and Tracy Byrd on Nov. 10.
Sometimes going the road less traveled can lead to a whole lot more of what you’re looking for.
In the corporate world this can be challenging, but done right it can be extremely rewarding, as in the case of Western Son Vodka, located in the small North Texas town of Pilot Point.
Though it’s only been around since 2010 and is located in a town with a population of just over 4,200, the company has enjoyed great success, winning many awards.
Western Son Vodka was created by a small group of guys who were burned out on corporate environments and ready to carve out their own path. Founder John Straits is still with the company as the president and CEO.
“The idea didn’t become a reality overnight,” said Matt Krocheski, the company’s marketing director. “There were a lot of long hours and more than a few challenges, but each was a lesson of how to make tomorrow’s batch even better.”
The company was started in 2010 in Carrollton and the product officially launched on July 12, 2011. It moved into a 45,000-square-foot building in Pilot Point 2014.
Its vodka is now available in 40 states — all but Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Vermont.
Krocheski said the name Western Son represents the independent person the vodka is made for, someone with a youthful spirit, fearless and strong-willed. The company makes a traditional vodka, seven flavored vodkas and a gin.
He said what makes Western Son different is that it distills its vodka 10 times in a 20-foot column still.
“We use 100 percent American yellow corn ingredients that give the vodka its gluten-free characteristic,” Krocheski said. “Even though we use the best ingredients to create a one-of-a-kind vodka, we’re still offered at a competitive price throughout the state.”
Why Pilot Point?
“Our company chose this location for a multitude of reasons. For starters, the mayor, city council, and EDC have been extremely supportive of the distillery, and the city itself is very business-friendly,” Krocheski said. “The land and the building are the perfect size and gave us the ability to expand in the future. Additionally it’s located in the DFW Metroplex, which is having tremendous growth.”
Its products have won many awards, including:
· Original: 95 rating from Cigar & Spirits magazine’s 2017 World Spirits Competition.
· Blueberry: Gold at the 2017 Sip Awards (flavored vodka).
· Lime: Double Gold at the 2018 Sip Awards (flavored vodka).
· Watermelon: 93 rating, Cigar & Spirits 2017 World Spirits Competition.
· Prickly Pear: Platinum, 2018 Sip Awards (flavored vodka).
· Cucumber: Double Gold, 2017 Fifty Best (best flavored vodka).
· Peach: Best of Class, 2018 Sip Awards (flavored vodka).
· Ruby Red Grapefruit: Gold, 2018 Sip Awards (flavored vodka).
· Gin: Best of Class, 2018 Sip Awards (gin).
In addition, the company received Market Watch Magazine’s Hot Prospect Award in 2016 and Beverage Dynamics Magazine’s Growth Brands Award in 2017. StateWays website named the vodka its Fast Track winner, noting that Western Son Vodka nearly doubled its sales to 101,000 cases in 2017, as consumer trends are favoring U.S.-distilled vodka.
The company also sponsors a charity, the Peter Burks Unsung Hero Fund, which was founded to carry on the legacy of Army 2nd Lt. Burks, who was killed in action on Nov. 14, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq. The fund is managed by Alan Burks, Peter’s father, and Peter’s fiancee, Missy Haddad. There are no administrative expenses or salaries paid. Every dollar spent from the fund goes directly to sending care packages to soldiers and support staff such as nurses and chaplains in Iraq and Afghanistan; and to providing humanitarian supplies for use in building connections with local residents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While the company has come a long way in a short time, Krocheski said there is still much work to do.
“Western Son Vodka is still a very small brand that many people haven’t heard of,” he said. “And our hope is that we can introduce more people to the brand and become more recognizable.”