Garrison Brothers Distillery Announces Semifinalists in Texas Bourbon Bartender Competition

Five of Austin’s top bartenders compete to win $10,000 prize

Garrison Brothers Distillery announced the 25 statewide semifinalists for their Bourbon Brawl bartender competition on Wednesday morning, and Austin has five superstar bartenders representing our boozy city in hopes of winning that big pile of green.

Photo courtesy of Garrison Brothers Distillery

Bourbon Brawl is a statewide bartender competition that runs March-April in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Ft. Worth, culminating in a Final Five Showcase right here in Austin on May 2. In the first round of competition, top mixologists from around the state participated in Garrison Brothers’ Bourbon Takeover of Texas, where 50 Texas bars and restaurants featured food and drink creations using Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon. The Garrison Brothers team visited each participating location to judge the entries and narrow down the fierce list of competitors.

“The level of talent I witnessed over the past week was truly breathtaking,” said Dan Garrison, founder and proprietor of Garrison Brothers Distillery. In 2010, Garrison Brothers – a small farm and ranch located in Hye, Texas – introduced the first bourbon whiskey legally made in Texas. “Traversing the state and listening to the stories behind each bartender’s cocktail inspiration was an excellent way to celebrate Texas’ 183rd birthday.”

Dan Garrison (Photo courtesy of Garrison Brothers Distillery)

Semifinalists are eligible to win a $10,000 cash prize thanks to Garrison Brothers’ Good Bourbon for a Good Cause, a 501c3 that often focuses on the Blanco and Gillespie counties of Texas as well as charitable organizations that serve current and former American military personnel. The winner will also receive menu placement as Dallas Restaurant Week’s official cocktail, the opportunity to instruct cocktail classes at Total Wine and More, and a guest bartending spot at Whiskey on the Rock in Las Vegas.

“To prepare for the Bourbon Brawl I went back to the basics,” said Austin semifinalist Andrew Grenz, Beverage Manager at the Fairmont. “I took inspiration from the main raw ingredient of bourbon – corn – and created a cocktail that would go well with food. … If I won the $10K prize,” added Grenz, “I would donate a portion of it to Austin Pets Alive! and save the remainder to help open my own bar in the future.”

The five semifinalists from each city are:


Andrew Grenz, Fairmont

Leenie Boyle, Better Half

Priscilla Aragon, Central Standard

Terance Robson, Here Nor There

Caer Maiko Ferguson, Eleanor


Scott Jenkins, HIDE

Christian Rodriguez, ABV Establishment

Hugo Onsorio, Bourbon & Banter at the Statler

Jorge Herrera, Up on Knox

Forrest Gilmore, Whiskey Cake (Las Colinas)

Fort Worth

Haley Oswalt, Fixe Southern House

Jacob Peters, Whiskey & Rye at Omni Hotel

Brittany Day, Thompson’s Bookstore

Elizabeth Burgard, Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar

Matthew Gutierrez, Bird Cafe


Cody Northcutt, Ready Room

Rigo Aranguren, Mastro’s Steakhouse

Dakota Jones, Whiskey Cake (Baybrook)

James Cone, Wicklow Heights

Will Wagner, Pinkerton’s BBQ

San Antonio

Priscilla Velasco, Zocca at the Westin

Robbie Olivarez, Hotel Havana

James Goodman, Rebelle at Hotel St. Anthony

Raimond Cordero, Edison Experiment

Amanda Bianchi, Supper at Hotel Emma

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