Whiskey Conversation: Ironroot Republic

I sit down with Robert Likarish from Ironroot Republic to discuss the origins of its name, the Cognac influence, their whiskeys, and the future.

The roots of their name run deep in the history for Denison Texas. The story begins in the 1860s when the phylloxera insect invaded the French countryside. This little insect nearly wiped out the French wine and cognac industry. During this same time T.V. Munson was working on a rootstock that could survive the phylloxera. This rootstock is capable of grafting to a variety of grape types making it the ideal savior. This ironroot would forever tie the city of Cognac, France to Denison, Texas. After this, the cities formed a sister city agreement. This history and relationship influence how Ironroot Republic Distillery distills their whiskey.

This is an interesting time in history. This same epidemic is why the Sazerac uses rye whiskey instead of cognac.

At the time of this interview, Ironroot Republic Distillery is about to turn 5 years old. That is young for a distillery, especially one that is producing the caliber of whiskey they are. In a short time, they have established themselves as a key figure in the Texas Whiskey space.

The Likarish brothers make their grain to glass whiskey with locally sourced grains. Corn is the primary grain they work with experimenting and using a variety of heirloom corn. From special purple corn, bloody butcher corn, and a recent green Oaxacan corn. Each varietal imparts a different flavor on the whiskey. So what whiskey do they make?

Ironroot Republic Whiskeys

They have two lines of bourbons and a few corn whiskeys. Did I mention they are award-winning? Watch the video to get the full scoop on the whiskeys from Robert.

  • Promethean Straight Bourbon — Among other awards it won the silver buckle for best grain to glass whiskey and bourbon at the 2018 Texas Whiskey Festival.
  • Harbinger Straight bourbon — Another award-winning whiskey won gold for best grain to glass bourbon at the 2019 Texas Whiskey Festival.
  • Hubris Straight Corn Whiskey — Currently holds the title for best corn whiskey in the world. Also, get Robert to tell you the story behind the name. I can’t help but think about it every time I have a sip.
  • Icarus Straight Corn Whiskey — is Hubris finished in port and peated barrels. One of their newer releases.
  • Esoteric is an ongoing whiskey experiment. They blend and bottle a portion of their experimental releases from the year.

In the video, Robert mentions there are some new whiskey’s coming including a 5-year-old bourbon. Plus we have a project in the works that will be something unique.

Ironroot Republic Distillery is not afraid to experiment and take chances. They were a part of the first-ever blend of Texas Whiskeys from multiple distilleries. We brought together Ironroot, Balcones, and Andalusia, working with Crowded Barrel to blend and bottle the release.

Ironroot Republic Distillery is a great group of people making exceptional whiskey. Pick up a bottle, share their story, and stay tuned for all they have coming out.



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Whiskey Jake

Whiskey Jake

A whiskey sommelier on a journey to learn and share as much about whiskey and everything around it that I can—founder of the Texas Whiskey Festival.