Hye, Texas is landlocked. Several miles away, the Pedernales River is the closest waterway, but it has yet to find fame as the bikini boating destination the local adolescent males believe it ought to be. Nevertheless, Dan Garrison of Garrison Brothers Distillery says they have boats to build, and they are looking for help from their fans.
They want their bourbon corks back (with which to build the boat), and they are willing to pay for them. The bounty is $5 per cork, and they will pay $5 shipping, too. Since their corks have distinctive markings they know what they look like, so save everyone the trouble and skip trying to sell them your wine corks.
Dan and crew got the idea as a creative way to circumvent state liquor laws that prevented them from materially thanking bartenders that promoted their products.
“Some guys will sell three to five bottles a week,” tells Dan, but “we can’t thank them, we can’t provide an incentive because of the liquor laws and regulations, and that’s frustrating to us because a lot of guys get behind our brand.”
Now with the cork bounty, those bars will keep their corks and send them in bundles to Garrison Brothers in exchange for a check. The bars can figure out how to divvy up the money once it gets there.
“We looked it up and it’s perfectly legal,” explains Dan. “We’re basically providing a cork rebate program.”
You do not have to be a bartender to participate, though. Anyone can send their corks to the distillery for the rebate. Dan says that some of their fans will buy three or four cases at a time for poker parties and drink most of it in a night. Now, they can swap their corks for Alka-Seltzer money the next morning.
They launched the program about a month ago and details are on their website. So far they have only received one bag of corks from a guy in Houston, but the pace should pick up.
“We’re looking for boatloads of ‘em,” jokes Dan. “We’ll just make the boat bigger and bigger and bigger depending on how many corks we get.”
Engineering and construction will take place at the distillery, although they may need to declare the project to the TTB so it does not get flagged as “Other Business” like their chickens did.
While it is not set in cork, the boat’s working name is “The Angel’s Share.” No shape has been determined yet, but as the corks flow in so will the ideas
“How fun would it be if there was actually a boat somewhere on Lake Austin that was made entirely with Garrison Brothers corks?” asks Dan. “We’d throw parties all the time and invite those same bartenders that helped us build that boat.”
Although Dan would not confirm or deny it, those living around the distillery have their suspicions about the project’s true purpose: a boat that attracts fish. While some combine the sports of fishing and drinking, this project reaches a new level, and everyone knows that bass like bourbon.
A few restrictions apply, but their website has full details: http://www.garrisonbros.com/building-bourbon-boat.