Garrison Brothers Distillery, the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas, announced a statewide bartender competition taking place throughout the first half of 2019. Dubbed The Garrison Brothers Bourbon Brawl, the competition is set to launch one week prior to Texas Independence Day, March 2, and will unfold in three stages across five major Texas cities from March to May. The grand prize? $10,000 cash from a public charity called Good Bourbon for a Good Cause, founded by the Garrison Family and their staff in 2018.

To qualify, hopeful contestants are invited to participate in Garrison Brothers’ annual bourbon culinary event, The Bourbon Takeover of Texas, a full week in which 50 distinguished bars and restaurants across the state feature culinary and mixological specials that include Garrison Brothers’ Small Batch Bourbon. These limited-time offerings will be available at fine restaurants from Sunday, February 24, through Saturday, March 2, 2019. During this period, the Garrison Brothers team will visit every participating location to taste, critique, examine and enjoy each cocktail, considering its potential for advancement to the second round of the competition.

Dan Garrison, founder and proprietor of Garrison Brothers Distillery, will visit select locations in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. The cocktail itself is not necessarily the key criteria for advancement; the bartender’s attitude, charm, camaraderie with customers, and concern for the well-being of their community and constituents are also factors under consideration.

The five bartenders Garrison Brothers selects in each city will face off in a semi-final round that will qualify just one from each group for the final round of competition to be held in Austin. Each market champion will represent his or her home turf in a five-round, Top Chef-style matchup to determine which bartender will take home the $10,000 prize.

Tentative dates of the spectator-focused contest are as follows. Time and location details will be released soon.

Saturday, February 24 – Sunday, March 2

Bourbon Takeover of Texas


Thursday, March 28



Thursday, April 4

San Antonio


Thursday, April 11



Friday, April 12

Fort Worth


Thursday, April 18



Thursday, May 2



“Good bourbon has the power to change the world, and that’s exactly what we want to do with this competition. We want to permanently and positively change someone’s world,” said Garrison. To this end, the $10,000 cash prize will be paid out by Good Bourbon for a Good Cause, a 501(c)3 public charity.

If a bartender, chef, mixologist, or restaurateur would like to participate in the 2019 Bourbon Takeover of Texas (February 24 – March 2, 2019), he or she should send an email expressing interest to The Garrison Brothers team will begin extending personal invitations to participate this week.

“If I wanted to win $10,000, I’d start considering my recipes and my dream now,” said Garrison. “I’ve seen how creative, competitive, passionate, and innovative the Texas talent is. That’s just one reason I’m incredibly excited for what 2019 has in store.”

Bar Management, Industry News