It all starts with the ‘cane. Sugarcane was introduced to the area more than 200 years ago by Jesuit priests, and it remains an integral part of our local culture and economy. But sugarcane isn’t the only root that runs deep in these parts.
In fact, the roots run all the way back to the founding of Acadiana by the French in the 18th century. Exiled from Canada (yes, our rebellious nature also runs deep!), our Chief Distiller’s (David Meaux) and CEO’s (Tait Martin) forefathers came together to found the area and lead the culture that came to be known as Cajun – a cultural banner we are proud to wave (you’ll see this flag hidden throughout our products).
Two centuries later, in the 1950’s, a man by the name of Gabriel Clerfe´ Meaux purchased 750 acres of land in fertile Southern Louisiana. What the aspiring timber farmer didn’t realize was that his land had previously been used by free-range cattle farmers. Gabriel faced a myriad of challenges as he fought to protect his crops and his land, from disgruntled neighbors to out-and-out arson.
The Meaux family don’t give in that easily, though. Three generations later, the farm (and its timber) is still standing strong. In addition to native crops like long leaf pine, the farm is home to a variety of hardwoods and fruit trees. It’s from these very orchards that we harvest the unique blend of woods we use to mature our aged rum, Noire.
From the moment of Acadiana’s founding centuries ago, our families were destined to create what is today fondly known as Wildcat Brothers Distilling.
THE WILDCAT BROTHERS
The Wildcat Brothers adhere to a meticulous, small-batch method to produce a rum like no other. In one sense, we might be the most unlikely distillers you’ll ever meet because we are completely self-taught. As a lawyer and Ph.D., we asked ourselves, “What’s the difference between that $7.00 bottle of liquor and that $70.00 bottle of liquor?"
Our curiosity led to research. Research evolved into practice. Practice flowered into passion. Passion grew into awards. Awards grew into fans. Before he knew it, our Chief Distiller, David Meaux, had taught himself how to distill a rum that continues to draw patrons from as far away as France to friends right down the road.
The resulting unique French style rum is the foundation of all Wildcat Brothers Distilling’s Heritage Rum Line. With this anchoring line of spirits, we continue to expand the distillery’s capabilities, experimental ingredients and techniques, and spirits offerings. Expect our ancestors to speak through our spirits as we grow to redefine southern Louisiana as “New Acadiana,” merging old-world recipes with modern techniques.
FRATERNITY: A TRUE BROTHERHOOD
David and Tait, the heroes of our story, met in college; the former was Theta Chi chapter president when the latter pledged. The two hit it off immediately, bonding over their shared love of jokes, Cajun culture, and, of course, a good cocktail or two. After graduating, the two friends kept in touch, and over the years David began trying his hand at distilling.
Over the years, David and a few friends continued dabbling in distilling spirits and even built their own still. “Lulu” as the still was affectionately dubbed, is still an integral part of the distilling family and can be found shining in her place of honor in the distillery. David and his friends went on to establish the second licensed distillery in the state of Louisiana.
As the distillery grew in size, reach and recognition, the fraternity brothers found themselves again. Tait continued to support his friend as recipes were tried, tasted, tossed out, tweaked, and ultimately perfected – the tastiest job ever. Over a few glasses of rum and a creative conversation, Tait joined the company as President & CEO of the Wildcat Brothers and established the growing distillery (formerly known as Rank Wildcat Spirits) to what is now known as Wildcat Brothers Distilling.