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Take This Job: Distilling at Still Austin Whiskey Co.

KVUE Daybreak got a peek inside this homegrown grain-to-glass distillery.

AUSTIN, Texas — On the rocks, warmed up as a hot toddy – there are plenty of ways to drink whiskey.

But what's really "neat" is how whiskey is made. Still Austin Whiskey Co. is just the place to learn how it's done.

When you enter Still Austin, you're entering a whiskey lover's paradise. It's located off East St. Elmo Road and is a homegrown grain-to-glass distillery.

"Everything's completely done in-house. They've got a team of five distillers. Six today, including you," Head Distiller John Schrepel said. 

First, we headed to the mill to check the fineness of the grain. 

I wanted to make a good impression on Schrepel – he was my boss for the day!

"So, you don't want it too floury. If its too floury or too granular, one, it will jam up the cooker ... too much of an oatmeal consistency. And if it's too fine, you'll extract too much sugar out of it," Schrepel said.

WATCH: Cocktail recipe: Still Austin Whiskey Co.'s old fashioned

Schrepel's job at Still Austin is essentially overseeing all of the cooking, fermentation and distilling side of the gin and bourbon, as well as maintaining all of the bourbon warehouses.

Time to check the cooker the grains are getting milled into. This involved a little climbing – and it's at this point I realized I wasn't dressed appropriately for the job. I should have worn tennis shoes!

We filled a pitcher up with enzymes to dump into the cooker. 

"Essentially what you're doing there is you're just breaking down the starches into fermentable sugars. But the enzymes help further break down those glucose chains," Schrepel said. 

Still Austin's columns are automated on a computer so that was our next stop. We had to make sure the numbers were entered just right. After that, we tested the proof of a tank to make sure that it was at that barrel entry proof.

It's a very detail-oriented job that takes time and patience. 

"From the milling side to the distillation side, it's about three to five days. But then when you start aging, it's a minimum of about two years," Schrepel said. "Right now, we are producing 60 barrels, 53-gallon barrels, a week. And now we are setting ourselves up though to do 120 barrels a week."

Quality is always on tap. Which led me to the best part of my day: the tasting.

"Every single day is slightly different. It's just not monotonous, you know? Having to make bourbon for a living? It's a good way to have a career, for sure," Schrepel said.

Still Austin just celebrated its four-year anniversary. It's open Tuesday through Sunday.

The distillery offers tours and guided tastings. You can grab a bite with their food truck partners, The Bearded Baking Company. And while you're there, catch some live music on their nice porch.

WATCH: Cocktail recipe: Still Austin's Wakey Wakey Bourbon Bakey 


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