Everything You Need To Know About Visiting Balcones Distillery In Waco

If you’ve thought about making a day trip to Waco and you need a few fun things to do, I strongly encourage you to add visiting Balcones Distillery to your day! I was in Waco recently and looking for something to do on a randomly very cold day in January, and it’s quite hard to find indoor things to do in Waco. This fit the bill perfectly! (It would also be good activity on a very hot July day.) 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

Balcones is among the most well-known and award-winning-est distilleries in Texas. Visiting Balcones Distillery is a pretty fascinating experience.  

Balcones Distillery in Waco

Balcones named themselves after the source of their whisky, the Balcones Fault. This is also their cool-looking logo that you see on every bottle.

The spelling of whisky is from the Scottish tradition, which they decided to adopt after winning a pretty major worldwide competition and beating out a bunch of old Scottish distilleries. (More on that in a moment.) 

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Where Is Balcones Distillery Located in Waco?

Balcones Distillery in Waco

I actually didn’t realize it was so centrally located! I assumed it might be out in the country a little bit on a big piece of land, but it’s actually smack in the middle of downtown Waco. You could easily walk here from the Silos at Magnolia Market (it’s about a ½ mile away.) 

Balcones Distillery in Waco
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Balcones Distillery in Waco

The tall brick building used to be the historic Texas fireproof storage company building before Balcones decided to renovate it and move into it in 2011.

Fireproof storage was popular in the early 1900s when there really wasn’t any sort of place for businesses and home-owners to store valuables. Fire-retardant materials weren’t used in regular buildings at the time.

Balcones Distillery in Waco
Balcones Distillery in Waco

Waco isn’t a very vertical town, so you’ll notice Balcones Distilling from pretty much everywhere! You can see the grain silos from a distance, and the big brick building is much taller than all the little boutiques and restaurants around it. 

Why Is Balcones Distillery A Big Deal?

Balcones Distillery in Waco

Among many other reasons, Balcones is significant because they were the first Texas whisky maker since prohibition. They make sure to tell you this a lot of times during the tour!

Balcones Distillery in Waco

And for the Texas distillery nerds out there, you probably know that Garrison Brothers (the other huge player in the Texas whiskey scene) actually opened their Distillery first, but Balcones opened in 2009 and succeeded in getting a whisky out on the market before Garrison. This is why Balcones can say that they were the first Texas whisky maker since prohibition. 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

Balcones is also pretty famous for their international awards, including one of their first major wins: winning a best in glass award at an international competition back in 2013. It was a completely blind tasting and they beat out some of Scotland’s finest, which was pretty insane for a 4-year-old distillery from Waco Texas to do. 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

They've won some pretty impressive double gold and gold awards at the New Orleans Spirits Competition, including Whiskey of the Year for their Texas 1 Single Malt.

And then, they’re also well-known simply because they sell a lot of whisky! You’ll see this brand at any upstanding bar and in quality liquor stores in all 50 states (and some international locations, too.) Balcones is enjoyed around the world. And you can visit the distillery right here in Waco, TX! 

All About Visiting Balcones Distillery

You could technically visit Balcones for free, if you wanted to. Visitors can stop by the bottle shop and browse the merchandise and gifts. There’s also a bit of history about Balcones on the lobby walls, along with historic photographs and a timeline of the company. 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

You can also enjoy a flight of whisky or beer in the tasting room without a reservation. There are some comfortable tables and countertops where guests can stop by and enjoy a drink. No reservations necessary! (But it might be a bit crowded on the weekends, just fyi.) 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

You can also stop in and shop any of their available whiskies. They typically have all of their popular bottles available for retail, like the Baby Blue blue corn whisky, the Texas single malt whisky, and their Texas rye. 

They make a few beers that are available in the tasting room, too.

Balcones Distillery in Waco

If you’re visiting on a nice day, there’s a beautiful outdoor area where you can sit.

But the best way to visit Balcones is to make a tour reservation in advance, which allows you to see the entire whisky-making process. 

Balcones Distillery in Waco
Balcones Distillery in Waco

Info About the Balcones Tour, Including Cost, Age, and Length Of Time

First things first: book your Balcones reservation in advance! The distillery tours on Saturdays and Sundays sell out weeks ahead of time. If there’s a certain time and day you want to tour Balcones, go to their website and purchase your tickets as early as you can. 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

The tour is a  really fun and engaging experience. It’s not so long that you’ll get bored and fidgety, but they definitely go into detail and take their time explaining everything! 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

If you’re already a big whiskey drinker or you’re involved in the beverage world (either in the industry or as a homebrewer or something like that) you’ll probably be the most knowledgeable person in the room.

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 A lot of folks who take this tour don’t know about the nuts and bolts of distilling, and they just want to have a good time, see the big mash tuns and all the oak barrels, and then get to sample a bunch of whisky at the end. 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

But if you’re already a pro and you have detailed questions to ask, the guides at Balcones are incredibly knowledgeable! They obviously know a lot more about this process than they’re going to share in a 60-minute tour, so you could ask smarter/nerdier questions and get an answer to that type of stuff, too. 

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You have to be 19 to take the tour and 21 to participate in the tasting of the tour. It’s not a kid-friendly activity, and you can’t bring kids or babies along. 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

The tour lasts about 60 minutes, including the tasting at the end. When the tasting is complete, you’ll be escorted back to the bottle shop where you can purchase full-size bottles of any of the whiskies you tried on the tour. 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

It’s a really cool experience! Balcones allows you to see the entire process, including the grain yard where ingredients are delivered, and a detailed look at mashing where you can see their massive mash tun spinning around, the outdoor fermentation, the distilling, and even the aging process.

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Your tour guide will lead you through each room of the distillery where this takes place, allowing you to see an up-close and personal view into the literal process that gets this award-winning whisky into the bottles. (They’ll even explain the painstaking process of getting that iconic wax on each bottle at the end of production.) 

Balcones Distillery in Waco

At the end of the tour, the tour guide will lead you through a tasting. Each guest will be given a small crystal tasting glass and explained how to sniff, swirl, and taste the drink, including the flavors you may (or may not...) be able to pick up. 

Guests get to take this little tasting glass home at the end!

WEBSITE | 225 S 11th St, Waco, TX 76701