Upcoming Party Celebrates Houston-Area Distillery’s New Tasting Room

A view of the new tasting room at Old Humble Distilling Company.

Old Humble Distilling Company, a family-owned and -operated, whiskey-focused micro-distillery located at 19103 Continental Parkway in Atascocita, is celebrating the grand opening of its tasting room this Saturday, April 27 from 2 to 10 p.m. with a Mini Music Fest. The event will be filled with live music, food, drink specials and the release of its limited edition Cask Strength Black Cat Ridge Straight Rye Whiskey

Saturday’s entertainment includes games, free tours, food vendors and live musical performances by Alyssa Rubich, Sheila Ann and Clint Woodruff, and Josh Ables and Seth Keiffer. Children will also be delighted by a visit from a Mary Poppins character performer, with tea, scones and a special Honey-Lemon Mint Julep added to the tasting room menu for the occasion. Tickets are just $5 and can be purchased online.

Beyond the grand opening party, guests can enjoy live music on the picturesque kid- and pet-friendly front porch every Friday night.

Old Humble Distilling Company founder Joseph Breda and Mrs. Breda at the 2024 Texas Whiskey Festival. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Old Humble Distilling Company founder Joseph Breda and Mrs. Breda at the 2024 Texas Whiskey Festival. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Owner and master distiller Joseph Breda’s passion for alcoholic beverages began as a homebrewing hobby while he attended the University of Houston. This progressed into winemaking and eventually distilling. He originally co-founded the now-closed Big Thicket Distilling Co. in Conroe in 2012 with a friend before buying him out to become the sole owner-operator and moving operations to a production space in Humble, the town where he grew up, to rebrand as Old Humble Distilling Company in 2015.

“I love the people in this community. It’s my home. I only saw it fitting to pay homage to the history of this place,” he said.

He operated the distillery part-time for the first several years while working to get things running and finally made it his full-time career in late 2019. His family and friends have been integral to maintaining the business and just about everything has been built by their own hands.

While at the original Humble facility, Breda dedicated his focus and resources to growing retail distribution, but always had plans to open a tasting room. Plans fell through, and “when the City of Humble decided to run us out of town, we moved to a brand new facility just outside of city limits, tucked away in the woods of unincorporated Harris County just as the pandemic was kicking off.” The pandemic put a freeze on the business, but starting in late 2021 the distillery was able to host live music and gatherings outdoors and construction on the tasting room began in 2022. 

Old Humble Distilling Company's line of whiskeys. Courtesy photo.
Old Humble Distilling Company’s line of whiskeys. Courtesy photo.

At the new tasting room, guests can enjoy Old Humble’s whiskeys neat, on the rocks, as part of a flight or in a signature cocktail. Bottles are also available for purchase to take home. It’s a one-man show for the most part, with Breda serving as “the principle owner, master distiller, floor sweeper and operator of the distillery.” For the time being, he has “partnered up with a local distillery to help source product to ensure [the] whiskeys are all true Texas whiskey” and plans “on bringing all of our production back in house very soon.”

Boomtown Bourbon is Old Humble Distilling Company’s flagship product made from 72% corn, 19% rye and 9% barley. The name and packaging is a reference to Humble’s history as an oil boomtown in the early 20th century. It is made from what Breda describes as, “a somewhat traditional tri-grain mash bill, [that is] heavy on the corn and a little light on the rye. What this gives us is a smoother, cleaner tasting whiskey without the heavy spice from rye grains.” It is then aged between nine and twelve months in five-gallon barrels from Red Head Oak Barrels to maximize contact with the wood, which gives the whiskey its color and much of its flavor and depth of character. 

Bourbon is defined as a straight American whiskey distilled from a mash — a mixture of grains fermented with yeast and water — that consists of 51% to 80% corn. The rest of the mash bill may include other grains such as rye, malted rye grain, wheat and malted barley. The mash bill, and the types of grain used, will affect the overall flavor of the distillate. It must then be aged in brand new white oak barrels which are charred on the inside to varying degrees. The higher the level of char, the deeper the color of the whiskey. The wood sugars that come from this process also add sweet notes of caramel and chocolate. All of the barrels used at Old Humble Distilling Company are barrel char level three, known for adding notes of caramel, brown sugar, and toffee.

Inside the Old Humble Distilling Company tasting room. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Inside the Old Humble Distilling Company tasting room. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

By law, nothing may be added to the whiskey with the exception of water to adjust the proof, which is a measure of the alcohol content in a beverage. Bourbon is bottled between 80 and 125 proof. For proofing, Old Humble utilizes rainwater captured onsite, which undergoes ultraviolet filtration and reverse osmosis, rendering it completely free of heavy minerals, chemicals and impurities.

Old Humble also produces Straight Whiskey made from 90% corn and 10% barley which is aged for five years in used bourbon barrels, then rests for a short time in new barrels to deliver a soft and sweet finish. Straight whiskey is defined by the U.S. Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits as “whiskey that is distilled from a fermented (malted or unmalted) cereal grain mash to a concentration not exceeding 80% alcohol by volume (abv) and aged in new charred oak barrels for at least two years at a concentration not exceeding 62.5% at the start of the aging process.” Old Humble has a second, limited straight whiskey called Special Reserve, which spends five years in used barrels before resting in new, small barrels for four to eight weeks, giving the 90-proof whiskey a deep, dark color and smoky richness. 

In 2020, Old Humble Distillings’s Special Reserve and Straight Whiskey won gold and silver medals at the London International Spirits Competition and were the highest-rated American whiskeys of all the entries.

Old Humble Distilling Company Double Oak Straight Rye Whiskey. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Old Humble Distilling Company Double Oak Straight Rye Whiskey. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

The fourth entry in Old Humble’s line-up is Double Oak Straight Rye Whiskey, which is made from 95% rye and 5% barley. It’s aged for at least two-and-a-half years with extra oak staves inside the barrels for a deeper flavor, darker color and fuller, balanced rye whiskey.

The new Cask Strength Black Cat Ridge Straight Rye Whiskey being released for the grand opening is the first cask strength offering from the distillery. 

Bottles of the limited Cask Strength Black Cat Ridge Rye Whiskey. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.
Bottles of the limited Cask Strength Black Cat Ridge Straight Rye Whiskey. Photo by Mario-Sebastian Berry.

Old Humble Distilling Company’s products are available at most local Spec’s Wine Spirits & Food, Total Wine & More and numerous independent retailers throughout Houston. 

The new tasting room is open Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m.

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