Last summer on Dallas Street across from a brewery of the same name, a home-grown distillery opened its doors to surprisingly little fanfare (OK, we got there a week late). The opening of 8th Wonder Distillery, a spinoff of one of Houston’s fastest-growing and perhaps most culturally representative breweries, started welcoming visitors in July 2019 with a relatively subdued press blitz.
Maybe that's surprising considering both the brand’s immense popularity and a distinct lack of local distilleries standing in its way. But then again, have you seen the construction around 8th Wonder and other parts of EaDo?
Anyway, since taking over the space (and equipment) previously occupied by the short-lived Paul Revere Rum Distillery, 8th Wonder has been quietly producing a growing line of craft spirits inspired, in part, by its brewing heritage. The portfolio, while still limited, demands more than a passing glance.
A smooth, eight-times-distilled vodka joined a delightfully sippable hops-infused gin to represent the company’s initial spirit offerings. Both feature prominently in the 8th Wonder tasting room’s rotating and quasi-seasonal cocktail lists, and they've even been incorporated into some notable bar programs around town—Rosie Cannonball, Rodeo Goat and all of Chris Shepherd's Underbelly Hospitality properties, to name a few. Recently the company rolled out a whiskey—produced offsite for 8th Wonder and finished at the distillery—with plans for a signature rum on the horizon.
Beyond expanding its offerings, 8th Wonder also aims to make its EaDo tasting room a social drinking destination on par with its massively popular older sibling across the street.
On Friday, the Donkeeboy and Friends Art Show, a recurring art pop-up normally hosted in the brewery, will move to the more intimate distillery and tasting room with a 6 p.m. start time. Live music by singer-songwriter John Egan is slated for Saturday and again on Feb. 8, with future performances by Egan and others to follow on a monthly basis.
A natural evolution from brewing, small-batch distilling operations are likely to gain traction in a city that is rapidly approaching suitable levels of brewery saturation.
Despite inexperience and a quiet entry into the field, the folks at 2201 Dallas have shown an uncanny talent for craft spirit making. Add to that their existing brand power and one could conceivably see 8th Wonder Distillery grow into a Texas spirits company as ubiquitous as your Titos and Balcones.