Patience is not a virtue everyone possesses. But, in the distillery and brewing business, patience is not optional. Fortunately for Lucas Pinkerton, “patience” is his middle name.
Pinkerton’s Distillery is original to West Texas and is the first and only distillery in Lubbock to produce rum. When explaining the distillation process, Lucas is proud that his products are 100 percent Texan.
Born and raised in Lubbock, Texas, Lucas Pinkerton attended Texas Tech. Through trial and error in home brewing, Lucas said he discovered with a touch of patience he could have great tasting beverages.
“I watched a friend of mine do it,” Lucas said. “With his guidance, the first batch I made was fantastic. The ones I brewed on my own were mediocre, but when you’re in college, you’ll drink anything. So they were drank, but they weren’t my best.”
This discovery led to a lifelong passion for brewing. He said he always loved the thrill of brewing and usually had to force himself to keep out of it until it was ready to drink.
A Career Change
Lucas worked in the IT industry for 18 years as a computer administrator and systems administrator. After graduating from Tech with a degree in business administration in 2014, he wanted to put his schooling to use and do something different.
“I was tired of the industry,” he said. “I had been doing it for so long, it changes constantly. It was a constant battle so to speak. I just wanted to put a passion to use, and I did. Some of it is work, but a lot of it’s not. A lot of it is fun.”
I just wanted to put a passion to use, and I did.Lucas Pinkerton
Brewing and Giving Back
Lucas has been an active Shriner for six years and raises money for 22 hospitals across the United States to help give children the treatments they need.
“Whether you have insurance or not, we don’t care,” he said. “It’s all about getting the kids taken care of.”
Lucas said he would brew beer for Shriner fundraisers, gatherings and social events all the time.
“I would take the beer I had brewed to these events, and everybody would love it,” Lucas said.
His passion for brewing beer is what sparked his curiosity in the art of distilling. Sharing beer he brewed with fellow Shriners and witnessing their response is what pushed him to create what is now known as Pinkerton’s Distillery.
Lucas credits Kenny Grant, a fellow Shriner and business owner, for playing a huge role in the creation of Pinkerton’s Distillery.
“Kenny is just one of those guys that always has the right answer,” said Lucas. “I couldn’t have done any of this without him.”
He created a business plan, and asked Kenny to review it. Lucas said he did not even look at it. Kenny just told him if needed help to get this thing really kicked off to let him know.
“We got together and pulled our resources, built the stuff we needed to build, and we started it. He’s been a valuable resource,” said Lucas.
Lucas says he strongly believes in mentorship. He calls Kenny with various problems and ideas and he always “shoots straight” with him. He said things have always worked out for the best when he takes Kenny’s advice, and the success of his business is a reflection of that.
Distilling is in the Details
The cane sugar molasses used in his rum comes from the Rio Grande Valley, the 10th largest sugar growing region in the world. Not only is the cane sugar molasses Texas made, but so is the still which he designed and built.
“Every distillery is different,” said Lucas. “But how I distill it here and how I process it thereafter is different from any distillery. It’s my own unique way to do it. The still I built, there is not another one like it. You’ll notice the difference in product with different stills.”
The first obstacle Lucas faced was obtaining all the necessary permits. It took Pinkerton’s Distillery roughly seven months to obtain their permit from the federal government before they could distill alcohol legally.
“The rules and regulations are very specific,” said Lucas. “That was the first hurdle.”
The second hurdle he faced was creating the exact product he wanted to put out. He worked on his recipe for four months before he narrowed it down to one for his initial product. He said the whole process, from start to finish, is the recipe. If you vary any piece of the process, it changes the outcome of the product. Lucas sampled the rum out to receive feedback from the public to determine what they liked, how it tasted, and how it mixed.
“We didn’t just make a rum we thought tasted good,” said Lucas. “We made a rum that mixed well and tasted good.”
The next hurdle Lucas faced was finding a distributor. He said there are not a lot of distributors in Lubbock that pick up liquor.
“Ranger Beverage is my distributor here, and they’ve been fantastic. We met, they liked the product right off the bat, and we’ve been running with it ever since,” said Lucas.
Pinkerton’s Rum, available since January 2016, has made it into liquor stores in Lubbock, Abilene, Austin, Odessa, Midland, Fort Worth, Dallas, San Angelo, and San Antonio.
Texas – Made
Matt Williams, field representative for GO TEXAN, has played a role in spreading the word about Pinkerton’s Distillery in the Lubbock community. Lucas expressed Matt is a fun guy to be around, and the support he has received from being a member of GO TEXAN has been amazing.
“Any time I need a contact or phone number, Matt is there,” said Lucas. “He’s sent me information on future bars that are coming up. He knows a friend or a friend of the owner.”
When they first linked up, Matt said Lucas told him the direction he wanted to go and what kind of contacts he was looking for. From there, Matt went straight to work, making connections for Lucas. He said he does not make the deals for him, but he gets Lucas what he needs to seal it.
“I know that by Lucas becoming a member,” said Matt, “we helped him get in front of an audience that he wasn’t in front of yet.”
Pinkerton’s Platinum and Coconut Rum can be found at local bars and restaurants like The Blue Light, Mesquites, The Library, Buffalo Wild Wings, Harrigan’s, The Overton, and Back40 Grill. His rum is also on the shelves of Lubbock liquor stores such as Pinkie’s, Spec’s, Ollie’s, and Doc’s.
Lucas possesses patience and a passion for what he does. His acute attention to detail and desire to succeed, propelled Pinkerton’s Distillery to heights he never imagined, proving that time flies when you’re having rum.