Though the beer-slinging icehouse is a family tradition in San Antonio, we generally don't encourage mixing children with booze. There are, however, exceptions. Austin's Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka sources its ingredients (with the exception of tea leaves, of course) from Texas. Water is trucked in from the clearest source in the Panhandle, corn comes from South Texas, and the honey is Texan, too. Most of the bottles sent to San Antonio are made with honey sourced from a local entrepreneur — 11-year-old Bo Deweese, a third-generation beekeeper in Terrell Hills who got his start at the age of six.
A few years back, Deep Eddy's founders, Chad Auler and Clayton Christopher, ran into Bo's father at a charity golf tournament, and hearing of the young man's enterprise, decided to try him out as a vendor.
Christopher, who began his own company, Sweet Leaf Tea, at a relatively young age (and then sold it to the Nestlé company), no doubt felt some shared identity with the fledgling businessman.
They started slow, purchasing most of Bo's backyard production the first year, which gave Bo enough cash to buy more bee boxes and double his output. Soon, there was enough of the sweet stuff from Bo's bees to supply the stock destined for the SA market. Not wanting to unleash a media onslaught until Bo had settled into his relationship with the Austin distillers, Auler and Christopher kept the story of their young supplier under-wrap until earlier this year, Predictably, the story has attracted quite a bit of media attention.
Made with tea leaves instead of tea-essence, Deep Eddy Sweet Tea has full-bodied flavors that beat most of the Southern-style sweet teas I've been handed. We tried it on the rocks (quite good), and noticed that the flavors expanded when mixed with water. And, though the honey is pronounced, this is tea vodka, not some syrupy-sweet cordial. We were pleased with the straight vodka, too. Distilling 10 times seems excessive, but this is some clean stuff, with no alcohol burn. In a vodka martini? Perfect.
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