Braxton, O.K.I., And Molly Freaking Wellmann.

By: The Gnarly Gnome


The world of craft beverages is evolving and blurring the lines between what folks enjoy and where they like to enjoy it. This is good news for those of us who like a little bit of everything, and even better news if you’re one of the curious folks who wants to try something that is a little outside of your typical comfort zone.

Braxton Brewing Company is teaming up with Molly Wellmann and O.K.I. Bourbon to craft a new cocktail program and full-on bourbon experience for drinkers in their taproom. It shouldn’t be very shocking if you’ve been paying attention to anything.

Braxton Is Born For This

Braxton Brewing Company has spent their whole existence telling us they were born out of the garage. For any Braxton fan who has been willing to take a little time to pay a little closer attention, though – you’ll understand that this is a much bigger idea than just Evan kicking off his brewing obsession out of his parent’s garage.

The garage is a symbol, and it has been so for the founders of Braxton since day one. It’s a symbol of home, comfort, and, very importantly, innovation. In the time since the brewery opened its doors, a lot has changed. The industry around them has shifted and evolved, and the drinkers who walk in their doors every day have done the same.

Many breweries have struggled deeply with these changes and adapting to them. I’m not claiming that it’s been an easy road for Braxton, but I’ve noticed that when they’ve leaned into that core idea of the garage. To home and comfort, yet innovation… the brewery has successfully evolved with its consumers.

Bourbon Is A Natural Fit

The first Bourbon Barrel Aged beer from Braxton was released just months after the brewery opened its doors. Kentucky Home perfectly celebrated the Derby for the brewery. Since that day, they’ve kept their Bourbon Barrel program close to their hearts, even when many other breweries have moved away from them.

I don’t need to explain the connection between a Kentucky brewery and the Bourbon Industry, do I? It’s part of who Braxton is, and they understand that. They opened a barrel-house taproom that celebrates barrels and bourbon. Every December, they throw a block party centered around their Bourbon Barrel-aged Dark Charge.

Bourbon is in the blood of Braxton, which is why when they announced that they were forming a relationship with O.K.I. Bourbon didn’t shock me one tiny bit.

O.K.I. Bourbon

If you remember back before New Riff Distillery in Newport had it’s own Bourbon to sell, you’ll remember the birth of the O.K.I. brand. The brand was created as a way to sell products from the distillery without confusing their consumers with sourced vs their own distilled whiskey, and once they had their own product… a couple of local entrepreneurs picked up the O.K.I brand to continue to build upon the legacy that it had started all on its own.

The name O.K.I. draws inspiration from the region. O.K.I. literally stands for Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, the footprint Braxton calls home as well. They’ve taken a new brand that was created out of innovation, creativity, and home; it’s the very things that the garage represents for Braxton.

It’s beautiful.

The team is gearing up to release an O.K.I. Bourbon Barrel Ale and I’m really, really pumped to see what they have in store for us, not just with that beer but in the future as well!

Where’s Molly Wellmann Fit Into This?

I don’t know Molly’s stance on garages. I can, however, tell you that she’s brilliant. Molly is my favorite person in the universe to have make me a cocktail – and does it with a personality that can only be matched by few people that I’ve ever met. She takes tradition and history, uses it to smack the living daylights out of the modern cocktail world, and then uses her infectious personality to make the modern world forget that it just happened. Her drinks can scream at the top of their lungs, or they can quietly hold your hand and whisper in your ear.

She’s rebuilding Braxton’s cocktail menu around O.K.I., which literally makes my heart beat faster even when thinking about it.

Innovation? Tradition? You see where she fits into this story, right?

How And When Can You Get Your Hands On All Of This?

This all launches with a BIG celebration at Braxton during their Derby Day party on Saturday, 5/4/24. You’ll be able to get your hands on the new cocktails then. The brewery is promising that not only will the party be a blast, but they’re hoping that it completely redefines the experience that you come to expect when you walk into a taproom. If anyone can do it, I think these folks can.

The world evolves, and whether we notice it or not, we change with it. The real trick is to surround yourself with people who can take that journey with you and make things fun along the way. Braxton, O.K.I. and Molly are all people that I will take just about ANY journey with.

This is good stuff, and I promise you’ll be hearing more about it from me, very, very soon.

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