Firefly Distillery already had a relationship with Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Ky., where some of Firefly's Sweet Tea Vodka is made because of expansion limitations on Wadmalaw Island.
Buffalo Trace, known for its handcrafted straight bourbon whiskey, also was helping Firefly with national distribution. The two distilleries then realized an obvious opportunity: "Why don't we make sweet tea bourbon? It only makes sense," says Firefly co-founder Scott Newitt.
So they did. Jim Irvin of Firefly and Truman Cox, a distiller/chemist for Buffalo Trace, "hunted deer and made sweet tea bourbon for three days" back in October, Newitt says.
Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon made its official debut April 1. The public got its first taste at the BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival in early March.
The flavored bourbon is 60 proof, the bottom of a range that can go as high as 138 proof, Newitt says.
"We wanted it be able to call it bourbon and have it taste good, and we went to the lowest proof to do that," he says.
Liquor stores are pricing the 750ml bottle from $18 to $21.
Newitt says his goal on the marketing side is to attract more male buyers.
Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka is more popular with women, so they're hopeful the bourbon will be discovered by men, a more typical whiskey drinker, when they see it on the shelf with other bourbons.
Buffalo Trace has won more than 50 awards since 1990, and is the only distillery to be named Distillery of the Year by Malt Advocate and Distiller of the Year by Whisky Magazine.
Firefly Sweet Tea Bourbon is the sixth spirit from Firefly, which was started in 2008.
Visit www.fireflyvodka.com for more information.