First grape distilled vodka in Texas now available to the public
Tyler TX — The Distillery at Kiepersol opens its tasting room and releases its first product, Dirk’s Vodka, this week in Tyler, Texas. The focus will be on both the vodka and the Kiepersol heritage from which it has grown.
The new vodka is named for Dirk de Wet, who believed that “everything worth having is simple and within reach.” That outlook –passed throughgenerations of the de Wet family who now guide the Kiepersol Enterprises team –is reflected in both the vodka and the way the distillery is operated.
“Our approach to creating Dirk's reflects the way I was raised, and the way my father ran his own business. We believe that when people discover the clean, crisp taste of our vodka, they'll tell others, and demand will grow. That will open doors for us. We're taking it slowly and –of course –keeping things simple,” said Pierre de Wet, founder of Tyler-based Kiepersol Enterprises, which includes the distillery.
Over time, the de Wets and others who make up the Kiepersol team have been developing the businesses into a destination, where people can now come to enjoy not only the vodka, but the Kiepersol Estates wines, the hospitality of the bed & breakfast, and the fine dining at the steakhouse restaurant.
“There's no substitute for experiencing Kiepersol. We'll be opening for tastings for on-premisesconsumption starting this week, and customers can sit on the veranda overlooking the vineyards that serve both the winery and the distillery,” said de Wet.
Grapes from the Kiepersol vineyards are used to make Dirk's, one of the few American vodkas made using grapes rather than wheat, barley, potatoes and other more common ingredients.
While Dirk's is currently available only at the distillery location, de Wet expects that to change.
“We are hoping to have distribution channels in place very soon to make it more widely available throughout Texas and beyond. Production will be limited at first, but we will be able to quickly ramp up to 20,000 bottles per month based on demand,” he said.
The water available in the area is ideal for making vodka, he said. “The water comes from a unique geologic location, yielding a water low in mineral content that we use both for the irrigation of the grapes and for blending Dirk's.”
Kiepersol Enterprises is a diversified family business that also includes Kiepersol Estates (estate-grown Texas wines), the restaurant and B&B, as well as other operations.
The distillery is located at 4120 FM 344 E, Tyler, Texas, 75703. Individuals seeking additional information may contact them at kiepersol.com or call 903-894-8995.