I met Tito Beveridge, the man behind Tito’s Handmade Vodka, about 15 years ago when he first started making vodka in Austin, Tex. Thinking it would be great to do advertising work for an adult beverage company, I called him. He told me he couldn’t afford advertising, but he invited me out to his still — and I couldn’t resist visiting a maker of spirits during business hours.
It was a hot Texas summer day, and I recall driving down a long, dusty dirt road outside of Austin’s city limits to find a little shack with concrete floors (before they were cool) and a black Lab at the door. Mr. Beveridge was pretty much a one-man operation then, but he sat and talked to me about his product and his story as if I were the largest distributor in the country and I’d come looking to make a deal. In the corner of the room was a tall still, sweating a bit in the Texas heat.