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Vodka in Bloom

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Vodka in Bloom

Western Son Distillery continues to grow in Pilot Point

Bottles, with liquids of every color, line the wood-paneled walls, along with various articles of clothing. T-shirts. Sweatshirts. Beanie caps. Old-fashioned bloomers.

Wait. What?

Yes, as you step into the Retail Center of Western Son, a vodka distillery located in Pilot Point in northern Denton County, you are immediately greeted with a view of a pair of pink ruffled bloomers, a cheeky nod to what came before they started distilling vodka on the premises. The 30,000-square-foot building is known to locals as the “old panty factory” and was a manufacturing location for Russell-Newman, which was founded in Denton in 1939, producing women’s lingerie and sleepwear. According to Denton County Office of History & Culture, the company expanded to a third operational location in Pilot Point in 1953, with their products attracting the attention of national brands Playtex and JC Penney’s.

Following Russell-Newman’s shuttering in 2011, Western Son was at the point where they had outgrown their original location and were ready to find a new base of operations.

The retail center has a large line of non-alcoholic products to purchase, including shirts, hats, glassware and more. Sadly, they have not expanded their merchandise to include old-fashioned bloomers. | Photo by Wendy Haun, City of Pilot Point

“When [Western Son’s founders] came to Pilot Point, they saw this old manufacturing company that had this history and a really cool story, but first and foremost, they had the space,” said Erin King, Senior Director of Brand Marketing for Western Son. “We were able to bring something to the community that didn’t exist, and it all fell into place.”

From humble beginnings in a Carrolton factory with just five employees, the brand has experienced tremendous growth, now employing 200 people. That’s not all that has grown: they are one of the fastest-growing spirit brands in the United States, with double-digit growth the last five years. Their line of vodka has expanded beyond its original 80-proof vodka to include eight flavored vodkas, gin, bourbon, ready-to-pour craft cocktails and spiked popsicles. All these creations are the brainchild of Western Son master distiller Vinny Messina, who will become a familiar face for anyone who wants to experience one of their Saturday tastings and tours.

“Our master distiller Vinny Messina has a passion to create something unique,” King said. “Having him in-house is a real benefit because we can do the smaller, limited-edition products.”

Despite the growth in both sales and the spirit line, the quality of Western Son’s products has never waned. Every single vodka in the Western Son line has won awards, including their original vodka, which received 95 points in the 2017 World Spirits Competition from Cigar Wine and Spirits. If you don’t have time for a tour, their Hospitality Center, which serves delicious cocktails from the Western Son line, is open Saturday afternoons. The word is getting around, as their biggest growth in the past year was requests from restaurants and bars to carry their products.

“They want brands that people love and want,” King said. “This brand was built on hard-working, independent thinkers and we like to associate our customer with that. There’s an Americana aspect to the trailblazing characteristic associated with our brand. We’re a brand that people love. If people know Western Son, they love us.”


Visit Pilot Point
visitpilotpoint.org

Western Son Distillery
217 W Division Street
Pilot Point, TX 76258
(940) 324-0008
westernsondistillery.com

Retail Center open Thursday & Fridays, 1-5 pm
Open for Tours on Saturdays at 1 pm, 3 pm, 5 pm

Dining and Lodging

Lone Star Lodge
2200 W FM1192
Pilot Point, TX 76258
(940) 686-0262
Lonestar-lodge.com

Leo’s Pizzeria
212 S Washington St
Pilot Point, TX 76258
(940) 514-6108
Leospizzeria.org

Powerhouse Burger
108 N Washington
Pilot Point, TX 76258
(940) 202-9226

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