San Antonio's newest distillery, Devils River Whiskey, set to debut on East Houston

by Rocky Garza Jr.March 15, 2021
Ben Olivo | SAHeron Devils River Whiskey is located inside the Burns building, 401 E. Houston St. Photos taken March 12. Photo by Ben Olivo | Heron

Devils River Whiskey is finally set to open on Wednesday inside the Burns building at 401 E. Houston St. The distillery is also relocating its headquarters from Dallas.

Mike Cameron, president and co-founder of Devils River Whiskey, said he wanted to be in the heart of the San Antonio tourism scene.

"We felt our close proximity to the Alamo would help our business thrive," Cameron said.

In 2018, the Dallas-based distillery announced it was relocating to San Antonio. However, the pandemic delayed the move. During the relocation process, Cameron, who’s lived in San Antonio for 30 years, contemplated a move to the Hill Country, but ultimately decided to make downtown the company’s new home. Another reason for the move was because of its proximity to Devils River, which is a part of the Rio Grande drainage basin. The distillery draws from the limestone-filtered spring water from Devils River, which is considered the more pristine river in Texas. The distillery gives a percentage of its profits to the Devils River Conservancy from each bottle; the percentage fluctuates from year to year.

The company also moved its bottling service facility near Fort Sam Houston, and uses it to ship out to 29 states with plans to increase to 33 states by the end of this year.

Rob Gourlay, a partner with the Boulevardier Group, has designed a Prohibition-era themed cocktail menu using Devils River Whiskey’s five selections: bourbon whiskey, rye whiskey, barrel strength, coffee bourbon and single barrel straight bourbon whiskey. Cocktail prices are expected to be in the $8-$10 range.

Cameron said the distillery will feature a Prohibition-era vibe with authentic furniture from the 1920s, a hand-carved bar, marble flooring, a copper-made distillery on the first floor and a speakeasy bar located in the basement.

An outdoor patio will serve as a cigar-lounge.

He had Austin artist Crystal Nobles paint Texan-born musicians such as Selena, Beyoncé, and Willie Nelson in the display case in the front. “It was important for out-of-town folks to learn about the talent Texas has,” said Cameron, who wants to bring live music to the distillery.

Eventually, Devils River Whiskey will open a rooftop bar, but the construction for that project has been pushed back to the fall.

Cameron said they plan to offer a house rum, vodka and gin in the future, but wanted to solely focus on bourbon whiskey in the beginning.

The distillery plans to offer a food menu with a charcuterie and cheese plate; a farm table salad; shrimp diablo (jumbo shrimp with habanero butter, lemon and garlic) ; onion dip with chips; Sichuan barbecue cashews; and rosemary citrus nuts.

So far, Devils River Whiskey has hosted 10 weddings and is booked for 50 future events. Cameron said the distillery will be closed to the public at certain times during these events.

“The bride likes it because of the classiness of our place and the groom likes it because it's a whiskey distillery,” Cameron said. “I feel like that is why it has worked so well for our weddings. Some feedback we have seen and heard from people when they came in for a tour was it was perfect and they were blown away.”

Devils River hours of operation are 4 p.m. to 11 p.m Tuesday- Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday, noon to 12 a.m. Saturday, and noon to 11 p.m. Sunday.

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Rocky Garza Jr. is a freelance journalist in San Antonio. Follow him at @r0ckssss_ on Twitter

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