Photo: Kyle Herman

Nine Banded Whiskey hales from Austin, Texas, a product of the city’s creativity and originality. Like Austin, NIne Banded prides itself on being able to bring people together, and to that end it brought Kyle Herman, President of the brand, and me together where I got to grill this spirits veteran on his new product, the shape of the industry today and what’s coming next for the ever-growing American whiskey category?

WIth an SRP of $27.99, Nine Banded Whiskey launched in March 2016 when its founders located an opportunity to create a whiskey that could keep up with Austin’s lifestyle, while paying homage to the music Mecca’s spirit and culture. “There was not yet a local whiskey with that sweet-spot price point,” Kyle Herman told me. “Over the last two years, we have been popping up all over Austin city limits and beyond. We work together with musicians, artists, barber shops, film festivals, rodeos, and makers of all kinds. Nine Banded Whiskey is here to support the creative community and bring good people together for a great time. “

The newcomer-brand has distribution agreements in place to activate nationwide and its strategy is measured and tactical. “We are opening up California, Tennessee, and Arizona in Q3 2018 with a primary focus on Los Angeles, Nashville, and Bentonville, “says Kyle. “We will accelerate our expansion through national account programs in 2019.”

Nine Banded has a classic bourbon flavor and soft rye finish, and ideally it sits next to Jack Daniel’s on the shelf. The barrels are aged in Kentucky for a minimum of three years, Master Distiller Amir Arad, proofs and blends in Dripping Springs, Texas.

It’s made with Texas Hill Country spring water, sourced from an untapped spring 60 miles west of Austin. The limestone-filtered water naturally amplifies the flavor and aroma profile, creating a smooth, clean whiskey at 90 proof.

Its differentiating proposition is defined and consistent throughout its label, imagery and the product in the bottle. “We are the live music whiskey, standing for the message that everybody and anybody can come together to the beat of the music, no matter who they are or where they are coming from,” Kyle enthuses. “We like grit and texture. We don’t always play completely by the rules, but in an approachable and friendly manner. “

We like grit and texture. We don’t always play completely by the rules…”

Retailers like this brand because it represents a great value proposition in its category with an exceptional rate of re-order, while bars and restaurants take advantage of its 90 proof which warrants a backbone that stands up well in cocktails, although consumers generally prefer to drink it neat or on a rock.

Old Fashioneds drive our cocktail business,” Kyle points out, “but we have seen the trade take our whiskey into every type of cocktail imaginable.  Recently, we identified a spike in frozen daiquiris and whiskey sours.”

“Women have played a critical role in this category’s demographics, as well as, younger consumers. For a time, whiskey was what your father drank. Over the next five years we expect Hispanic consumers to drive growth.”

“Women have played a critical role in this category’s demographics, as well as, younger consumers. For a time, whiskey was what your father drank. Over the next five years we expect Hispanic consumers to drive growth.”

Nine Banded Whiskey really connects to everyone, he maintains. “We are Austin culture in a bottle — from the hipsters, the makers, the musicians, the entrepreneurs, and everyone in-between. There is something unique about the way the people of Austin come together. A one-of-a-kind city, Austin has always been, and remains to be, a place where everyone has a seat at the table and a glass of Nine Banded Whiskey in their hand.”

Hill Country Cooler


  • 1.5 oz Nine Banded Whiskey
  • 2 oz watermelon juice
  • .75 oz basil simple syrup
  • .5 oz lime juice

When the heat returns to Austin, it means greenbelt swimming holes and barton springs trips in the sunshine. Refresh with this delicious whiskey, watermelon and basil drink as the the days grow longer and the city starts to slow down.

Method: Shake all ingredients and pour into a collins or rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a basil leaf.

Night Roamer


  • 1 oz Nine Banded Whiskey
  • 1 oz cold brew coffee
  • 1 oz milk (almond, coconut, or 2%)
  • .5 oz Licor 43
  • .5 oz simple syrup

Inspired by the cold brew that runs through this city as summer draws near, the night roamer is a remarkably Austin coffee cocktail. This caffeinated creation will get you roaming into the early hours of the morning.

Method: Shake all ingredients and pour into a collins glass over ice, or put in blender to serve frozen.

Revolution Nine


  • 2 oz Nine Banded Whiskey
  • .5 oz Licor 43
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • 2 dashes peychaud’s bitters

Whether you prefer your Nine Banded neat, on the rocks, or mixed up in a tasty cocktail, you’ll hit all the bases with this classic cocktail.

Method: Stir all ingredients and pour into a rocks glass over fat ice or neat. Garnish with an orange swath.

Stevie’s Honey Bee


  • 2 oz.  Nine Banded Whiskey
  • 1 oz.  Lemon Juice
  • 0.75 oz.  Lavender Syrup

Our classic Stevie’s Honey Bee is one you may have seen at a local event. Named after Stevie Ray Vaughn, this sweet sipper is sure to get you into some trouble..

Batching this cocktail out for friends and a full party is the way to go. The lavender simple syrup may seem like a task, but there is no better way to get the party started than filling your home with lavender aromas as you prepare for fun times with friends. Be careful, it is dangerously delicious.

Method: Boil water & sugar as equal parts, add dried lavender buds – steep and cool overnight. Strain out the lavender the next morning.

Banded Basil


  • 2 oz.   Nine Banded Whiskey
  • 0.5 oz.   Simple Syrup
  • 3 Basil Leaves
  • Splash of Topo Chico

This classic cocktail with a bit of herbs is always a crowd pleaser.. Not too sweet and yet just sweet enough.

Method: Muddle basil leaves with simple syrup in a rocks glass. Add crushed or cracked ice, filling to the top of the glass. Pour Nine Banded over the ice. Stir gently adding a splash of club soda, slap a fresh leaf of basil on your palm, garnish the drink with it and enjoy.

Sixth Street Shandy


  • 2 oz.  Nine Banded Whiskey
  • 2 oz.  Aranciata Soda
  • 1 can  Wheat Beer or Lager
  • 0.5 oz.   Lemon Juice

For the beer drinks and whiskey lovers, this recipe is a refreshing take on your summer shandy. Give it a try! It’s best served on a boat or pool side or well.. just about anywhere.

Method: Pour a 12 oz wheat beer or lager of your choice into a glass. We recommend the Live Oak Hefeweizen as a wheat option, or Twisted X’s Austin Lager if that is more your style. Add Nine Banded and lemon juice, then top with San Pellegrino Aranciata or another citrus soda. Garnish with an orange slice. Enjoy.

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