“Keep Austin Weird” is the catch-cry of many locals in Austin, Texas who champion the small producers of the town who are famed for doing things a little bit differently. It's with attitude that Tito Beveridge makes his vodka, Tito’s Handmade, one of the best in the world. Tito’s, you see, is a bit peculiar when compared to other premium vodkas.
Just as the warm, dry plains of Austin are not where you would expect to find one of the world’s top vodka distillers, Beveridge is not your average vodka czar. Before establishing Tito’s in 1997, Beveridge was a geologist and mortgage broker, who liked to infuse vodka to give as gifts, and had no prior experience in distilling.
Generally, premium vodkas are distilled using wheat or rye. When Beveridge began distilling his vodka he used whatever grain he could find in good supply, which in Texas meant corn, giving his vodka a mild sweetness. Unaware that this was unusual, Beverage was pleased with the results, and to this day Tito’s is made using 100 per cent yellow corn.
The spirit is purified six times in a pot still, a process that has more in common with malt scotch or high-end cognac production than it does premium vodka, which is commonly made using a column or continuous still. The end result is a fuller and rounder vodka.
In 2001 Beveridge was invited to enter Tito’s into the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, where it was awarded the Double Gold Medal, beating 72 of the world’s top premium vodkas. Luckily, it's just dropped on Australian shores.
Tito’s handmade is available now in good bottle shops and bars across the country.