Desert Door Texas Sotol, the only producer of sotol in the United States, is proud to announce the launch of Back Burn , a new variation of Texas sotol, as the first of several limited releases for the brand’s new Conservation Series which will all be housed in a brand new bottle. All Conservation Series’ projects are centered around land, water, and wildlife stewardship with an emphasis on regeneration.
The process of making Back Burn involved administering a prescribed fire in the sotol-filled lands of West Texas and then using the charred Texas sotol plant (Dasylirion texanum) to create the spirit. Desert Door will release new versions of its popular spirit specific to each new project within the Conservation Series.
Fires are a natural part of regeneration and rebirth in our wild places. However, in the last 100 years they have not been as widely implemented. Though prescribed burns have been practiced far before today’s land stewards, it’s something that’s more recently become part of proper land management. Prescribed fire is a raw practice, one of rebirth, that prevents destructive fires, manages landscapes, restores natural woodlands, and provides research. For the first project in the Conservation Series, Desert Door partnered with 7 Oaks Ranch and Sul Ross State University using prescribed fire on the ranch’s land in West Texas to foster new plant growth, expand wildlife populations, and create a healthy ecosystem. The fire restored native grasses that prevent soil erosion and allow for proper water distribution on a mass of land where drought is recurring. Making use of what was left behind after the fire dimmed, Desert Door harvested the Texas sotol plants that had overtaken much of the land at 7 Oaks Ranch. These plants were selectively trimmed, harvested, steamed, juiced, fermented, and distilled into a powerful new variation of the spirit aptly named Back Burn.
The story of this project was captured in a newly released video.
“When we started Desert Door, we fell in love with how the sotol plant represents West Texas and the land itself. Whether through our harvesting techniques, conservation efforts, or educational content, we look at all of these components as opportunities to increase
the conservation of the plant and the land it thrives on,” said Ryan Campbell, Desert Door Partner. “We’re excited that with this Conservation Series, the community of people we’re building around Desert Door will be able to contribute to this work for generations to come.”
Back Burn, which is made from wild-harvested plants from 7 Oaks Ranch, has up-front notes of mint and eucalyptus with an undertone of wet earth. Bright, herbal and grassy notes of sage and pine dominate with undertones of honey and a sweet smokiness.
The 750ml Conservation Series bottle, in which Back Burn will be contained along with each new spirit variation developed in the series, was inspired by the rugged desert lands where West Texas sotol plants grow. Designed by in-house designer Carolina Colantuoni, the bottle is textured like gritty sand. The topography of the Chisos Mountains wraps around the bottom, a map of where sotol is in abundance. A portion of the proceeds from each bottle sold directly helps to keep wild places wild and will fund the next conservation project. This limited edition bottle can be found in select retailers across the brand’s distribution networks in Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Colorado, and is also available for delivery in select states on Speakeasy so more people can savor this new product variation from the comforts of home. Conservation bottles are suggested to retail for $49.99.
This announcement marks the latest development in a big year for the brand, which celebrates three successful years in business this November. Desert Door aided in the fight against COVID-19 from the onset by adding hand sanitizer production—in accordance
with World Health Organization (WHO) and FDA standards—to its regular operations and was one of the first distilleries to help large-scale in this way. The brand produced the hand sanitizer, made with 80% alcohol, and donated over 70,000 8oz bottles to first responders, police departments, restaurants, and more across Texas over the span of three months, culminating in its largest donation yet to The University of Texas at Austin with over 3,000 gallons (48,000 8oz bottles) provided this summer prior to school returning, making the hand sanitizer stations at every classroom door there possible. The brand has since launched 50ml bottles of its Desert Door Original and Oak-Aged variations, which were previously the only two versions of the spirit available only in 750ml bottles, along with a 200ml flask filled with the Original sotol that makes the perfect accessory for the outdoorsy drink lover.
Desert Door was founded in November 2017 by Texans Judson Kauffman, Ryan Campbell, and Brent Looby. The founders, all former service members of the United States military, met while attending The University of Texas McCombs School of Business.
The brand has received praise for its sustainable practices, including wild-harvesting of the sotol plant which allows for generations of regeneration, water repurposing techniques, and more. The 8,000 sq. ft. distillery is located in Driftwood, Texas — 30 minutes outside of Austin — complete with a modern, desert-inspired tasting room and large patio for sipping their signature cocktails. In other recent developments for Desert Door, visitors to the distillery can now also enjoy farm-to-table fare from the Eden West food truck by the team behind Austin’s beloved Eden East, and purchase bottles, mixers, and other products to-go.