From grain to glass, learn about this family-owned distillery

Located just a quick day-cation away from East Texas, a unique distillery has quickly become a must-visit destination for bourbon enthusiasts and those who enjoy locally made spirits. Founded in 2015, Hochatown Distilling Co. was created by four partners, Tommy “Blue” McDaniel, his brothers Martin McDaniel and Mitch McDaniel, and business associate Nathan Jewell.

Tommy and his wife, Julie, spent a considerable number of years in Tyler, TX, before the opportunity to go back home to Broken Bow, OK, and start up a family business.

“The distillery has been a dream of mine for a long time 25 years, ever since college. And Tyler was a great area,” said Tommy. “Tourism started developing in this area and I’m from [Broken Bow]. I go back four generations to this area and never would have thought that I’d get to come back home and do this. It’s been one of life’s pleasant surprises that I’ve got to experience.”

What sets Hochatown Distilling Co. apart from other craft distilleries is their commitment to producing their bourbon whiskey entirely on-site, from distilling to aging to bottling. “We’re a unique distillery in the fact that we distill, age, and bottle our bourbon here, whereas a lot of new distilleries, they source bourbon from other locations. But the brown liquor, the bourbon that we sell here, we’ve made it completely here on site by hand,” explains Tommy.

Starting in 2015, and with Mitch’s background in chemistry and Tommy’s in engineering, the brothers reverse engineered bourbon to develop their product, which they began aging for four years. Come 2019, the distillery started selling bourbon, and also vodka.

These spirits can even be found in East Texas, such as at Harley’s Liquor in Longview.

The McDaniel family doesn’t stop there though, Julie McDaniel owns the Knotted Rope Winery, and his brother, Mark McDaniel, owns the Mountain Fork Brewery. All three of these locations are in the same area, so no matter what your group may enjoy to drink, there’s a sport for you! And just like the distillery, the wine and beers are all made in their respective location, providing all local drinks from a local family. Even Tommy’s youngest son, Matthew, is involved in the family business, working in the winery and learning the ropes of fermentation and bottling, which can eventually lead into the distilling side of the business.

“At the end of the day, it’s good bourbon. You can come here and this is the first of its kind little speakeasy, where you can actually sit down and taste, try our products, and then you can buy it to take with you,” said Tommy. “What you’re seeing here and what we can do here was a project that Mitch and I worked on for years.”

You can learn more about Hochatown Distilling Co. by checking out their website, visiting their Facebook page, or viewing their Instagram.

They are open Monday-Thursday from 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM, Fridays & Saturdays from 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM, and Sundays from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

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Jade Allen

Jade Allen

Jade Allen explores East Texas to bring the most exciting activities and locations to The East Texas Weekend. Jade came to Texas in 2018, where it has steadily become a home and a place to explore.