Denton’s first distillery, Noble Wolf Vodka, offers something other than the traditional run-of-the-mill vodka, instead offering the first premium-grade alcoholic spirit produced from grapefruit.

The new distillery at 4408 Worthington Drive #113 boasts a vodka that is “low in calories, zero sugar, paleo-friendly, and gluten-free,” according to its website.

The vodka has won several awards for taste such as Texas Vodka of the Year, double Gold in the New York Spirits Competition and Silver in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Owner Bryce Cottrell is a Texas native and said he is excited to be the first distillery in Denton and to grow Noble Wolf’s reputation in North Texas.

“I’m trying to make Noble synonymous with Denton,” Cottrell said. “Hopefully, as my company gets bigger and bigger, I want to help the city and community as well.”

Cottrell said he wants to keep the quality high and price low, as well as assist in the economic growth of the community.

“I will hire people from the city to come work for the distillery,” Cottrell said. “I’ll never leave the city of Denton as long as I’m the owner just to keep the economic growth in the city.”

A former football player at the University of Texas at Austin, Cottrell was 22 when he first asked university chemists how to make vodka from grapefruit. The chemists laughed at him, telling him the cost to make vodka distilled from grapefruit was going be too steep.

So, Cottrell put an ad on Craigslist for a chemist and a man gave him the recipe for $80 and a couple burgers. He partnered with Republic National Distribution Company, the second largest distributor in the country, to make the plans a reality.

Differing from traditional vodka — usually distilled from wheat, potato or corn — Noble Wolf uses a stainless steel still in an eight-step process, rather than the typical copper still, which would degrade from the grapefruit’s acidity.

When it came to choosing a place to set up shop, Cottrell said he wanted to keep the business in his home state.

While the city has not had a distillery before, Denton’s director of developmental services Scott McDonald said the process was fairly straightforward. The distillery’s location was already zoned for “light industrial” and in line with the appropriate construction codes.

Denton’s director of economic development Jessica Rogers said while she can’t be sure of the distillery’s impact on the local economy yet, she is glad it’s here.

“It’s incredibly exciting to have them here and that they chose Denton when they had other options,” Rogers said. “Distilleries create a lot of buzz and generate jobs just like other businesses.”

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