Deep Eddy Vodka's lemon flavor is the most popular one for the booze brand's staff — but one day, an even brighter flavor might reign supreme.
Once the main production facility of Deep Eddy, the U.S. 290 distillery has been converted almost entirely into a ginormous tasting room where people can order each of the various Deep Eddy flavors in cocktails. Most of Deep Eddy's line of vodkas, including original, sweet tea and cranberry flavors, are now being made in a 194,000 square-foot facility in Buda that was purchased in 2016.
As you might imagine, that leaves a lot of extra room for visitors to the original space, tripling the capacity the site can hold. (There has always been a tasting room at the front of the building, but it was not large enough for the crowds drawn to the popular brand's home.) Once customers head downstairs, they will be able to order cocktails — from a recently redone menu — at a 38-foot bar with a blue design inspired by Austin's Deep Eddy Pool.
But that's not the only place to sit and sip in the space. One of the key attractions of the new warehouse-like tasting area is a small bar where you'll be able to taste potential vodka flavors that lead distiller Jason Ducharme has been experimenting with. Behind it, the original column still that produced Deep Eddy in the early days has remained as both a showpiece and a tool for him to use. The still-in-use bottling line is also nearby.
The most developed of the potential flavors is — drum roll, please — lime. It's only fitting, Ducharme said, that lime has promise as a Deep Eddy option after the lemon flavor has done so well. (It is both one of the most purchased flavors in retail stores and one of the most chosen ones in the tasting room.)
The Deep Eddy production team took its time to develop lime, recognizing that there are so many directions to take this versatile flavor. There are also many varieties of limes from which to choose, from Key to kaffir to Persian, the one that Deep Eddy ultimately chose to source fresh. Persian is also the most common lime to find in the grocery store.
"It took more than a year to get it right because there's so much you can do with lime," Ducharme said. "You can do margaritas, you can do mojitos, you can do daiquiris."
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Despite its promise, lime still may not end up being the next Deep Eddy flavor to be bottled. But that's where the visitors of the new tasting room come in. Ducharme will have events such as Flavor Fridays to introduce promising flavors, and not just lime. Pineapple, anyone? Or how do you feel about watermelon? He's a constant tinkerer and is also open to your suggestions. Strawberry, because of the seeds, might be difficult, he said.
One of his goals, Ducharme said, is for the Deep Eddy tasting room to become a place where people can try vodkas that aren't available anywhere else. No, really: peanut butter and jelly is an out-there creation he's already tried, and it really tastes like your childhood.
The new tasting room is now open at 2250 E. U.S. 290 in Dripping Springs.