Pecaño is a bitter-sweet liqueur made in Austin, TX crafted with artisanal methods using pecans sourced from the Texas hill country. The pecans are combined with a carefully balanced mixture of alcohol, spices, sugar and other 100% natural ingredients to create a high-quality, premium liqueur. While the pecans give Pecaño its distinct taste, it is the final ingredient, time, that makes the liqueur unique. Time carries the ingredients deep into the alcohol, producing a profoundly textured, aromatic and flavorful spirit. Like wine, Pecaño is a vintage spirit, produced annually with the pecan growing season, and like a good scotch or whiskey, it only gets better as it ages.
The Next Step
My goal with Kickstarting Pecaño is to take it from a passion and personal treasure and get it to market by Christmas of 2013. In order to do this I'll need to produce a much larger amount of 2013 Pecaño (approx. 1500 bottles) and jump through a number of licensing, regulation and organizational hoops to actually get it on the shelves. Being based in Austin, TX gives me an advantage to navigate some of the more complex licensing steps due to the proliferation of locally made spirits here. Thanks to a number of pioneers, creating and setting up a company like this is dramatically easier than it was even just 5-10 years ago. I've founded Red Deer Liqueur, LLC to get the ball rolling. I've also done extensive research and talked to a number of people in the industry that are willing to help guide me through some of the more intricate steps. But there are a lot of other steps to get Pecaño on the shelf, and most of them carry a significant cost. I've calculated that $40,000 is the minimum amount needed to get a project like this off on the right footing.
Where the Money Will Go
The money raised here will go directly to:
- Setting up a production facility - This is necessary to acquire state licensing. We will need a multi-month contract in order to produce and store the Pecaño until it's ready to sell.
- Acquiring federal and state licensing - A difficult endeavor no matter how much experience you have.
- Buying more production equipment - This includes production containers, base alcohol, pecans and other ingredients, bottles, corks, and labels (to make approx.1500 bottles).
The good thing about Pecaño, as opposed to a fermentation or a distillation, is that it doesn't require complicated or expensive machinery to make it. So, once the basics of the business are set up (facility, licensing, etc.) more of every dollar raised and spent will go directly into buying more base ingredients and making more Pecaño (production containers, base ingredients, etc). The more money raised, the more Pecaño I'll be able to make and put on the shelf. It goes without saying that any donation amount is welcome and useful and that going over the goal just means more Pecaño.
After college, I lived and worked in Italy for a number of years as an engineer. While there I became familiar with many of the liqueurs popular in that part of the world (like Limoncello from southern Italy, Amaretto DiSaronno from northern Italy and Vin Santo from Tuscany, central Italy). One day in particular I was out in the countryside near Bologna and I met an old farmer that introduced me to a liqueur that he made from walnuts, called nocino. I tasted it and fell in love with its depth of flavor, texture and color and spent a lot of time "studying" it over the next few years. Eventually I moved back to Texas and settled down in Austin. While I could get my hands on the occasional bottle of nocino, I longed for the proximity and ease of finding and drinking that great liqueur. Then, one day, I got inspired, and tried making my own liqueur from pecans cultivated right here in Texas. It worked pretty well, so I spent some more time on it, eventually finalizing the recipe and started calling it Pecaño.
Italians have a talent for taking local ingredients and using them to make these incredibly deep and flavorful products. I've really come to appreciate not only the liqueurs they make like this, but also how each region uses the ingredients they have nearby and combines this with passion, time and hard work into making a high quality product. I have always thought it would be great if there was some way to make something similar in the U.S.: a liqueur made from locally grown ingredients, with a real connection to the region it's from, using traditional, artisanal techniques.
What Does Pecaño Taste Like?
Pecaño is very similar to nocino in color and thickness, but different and unique in terms of flavor, texture and smell. The pecan flavor sits squarely at the foreground with the other spices and sugars intermingling behind to give you a bitter-sweet liqueur that doesn't overpower. It's not quite as sweet as a limoncello and not quite as tart as an amaretto. Instead the flavors carry a depth similar to that of well balanced wines and a breadth similar to a good scotch or brandy. Also similar to wines, a unique part of the flavor profile of Pecaño comes from the difference between each batch. This is influenced by the seasonal fluctuations of the pecan growth, environmental differences in the first months of infusion as well as small variations in the mixture of the ingredients. All of these differences, while subtle, set it apart from other liqueurs currently available in the market.
How to drink Pecaño
There are a number of ways to enjoy Pecaño. Here are some of my favorites:
- Neat - My preferred way! Sipping it all by itself after a good meal with good friends.
- In Ice Cream - Over some Blue Bell Vanilla, in a Pecaño milkshake, or on top of your favorite flavor.
- In Coffee - In Italy this is called a “caffè corretto”, or “corrected coffee”. As though the coffee were mistaken without it. Yes, indeed.
In a Cocktail - Here are a few I enjoy…
2 oz Your Favorite Bourbon
1 oz Pecaño
Dash of orange bitters
Stirred with ice
Served up with brandied cherry garnish
Lone Star Negroni
1 oz Pecaño
1 oz Gin
1 oz Campari
Stirred with ice
Served up or on rocks with orange twist
2 oz Your Favorite Bourbon
1 oz Pecaño
Dash of almond syrup
Stirred with ice
Served in chilled Martini glass with cinnamon stick
Conclusion and the Big Picture
I was lucky enough to get exposed early in my life to a part of the world that has a real passion for locally made, high quality liqueurs. In the short term I'm set on making more Pecaño and bringing it to the market. Long term, however, I'd also like to bring the same kind of lasting passion to Texas and the rest of the country for these liqueurs that I experienced overseas. So, my hope is that this is just the first of many steps in creating not only a great liqueur, but also a means to promote the responsible growth of the environment, discussion and culture that can evolve around unique, home-grown liqueurs like this. The quality and the flavor of the liqueur is just one component of the big picture I'd like Pecaño to be a part of building.
Thanks for your interest and thank you in advance if you decide to contribute to Pecaño.
Risks and challenges
There are multiple challenges to this project but the most complex issues will be:
(1) Mass producing Pecaño - The quantity of Pecaño made for 2013 is solely dependent on the amount of money raised. More money = more raw ingredients and production bottling = more Pecaño on the shelf. If the money is raised in a reasonable amount of time, however, all of this can organized, planned and executed. As an engineer with a background in developing products and bringing them to market, I have the background and the know-how to handle this challenge.
(2) Obtaining licensing - Alcohol laws are complex, but that doesn't mean they're not navigable. Over the past year I have made a number of connections in the alcohol industry here in Austin and around the state to help guide me through this process. There are also a number of other great companies selling great products that have "paved the way" for beginners like me. All this means that the path is there, I just have to make sure I walk down it the right way. The part I obviously need the most help with are the costs associated with the various licenses. That's where I'm asking for you to come in.
(3) The logistics of bottling and preparing the product for market - This comes on the back-end of the production. The good thing is that Pecaño must be aged on the back-end of production before it's ready for consumption. This means I will have time after most of the production work is complete, while the product is maturing, to devote towards these more technical aspects of bottling and market preparation. It's a nice buffer to make sure that each bottle that goes out on the first "big run" is done correctly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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