SAN ANTONIO – Dorćol Distilling is less than a decade old, but already the company has been recognized nationally and was recently named the fastest-growing brewery in Texas.
Texas is known for its whiskeys and beers, but Dorćol introduced the Alamo City to a lesser known spirit: rakia.
It began when the company's founders, Chris Mobley and Boyan Kalusevic, met in college. Kalusevic, who is from Serbia, introduced Mobley to rakia. Rakia is the name of a popular fruit brandy in Eastern Europe.
"It would be in an unmarked Coke bottle or something like that," said Mobley. "It's a really great, high-quality spirit."
For years, the pair planned on opening a rakia distillery in San Antonio. In a booming craft beer and whiskey market, they saw an opportunity for a spirit that was more unfamiliar. The pair put their business plans on paper in 2011. In 2013, Dorćol opened its doors in Southtown.
The name has significance. Dorćol (the c is pronounced "ch") is the name of a neighborhood in Belgrade, Serbia where Kalusevic was born.
The company's first offering was Kinsman Apricot Rakia. It was the first rakia made in Texas. To create the spirit, the pair followed a recipe from Kalusevic's family.
"Anywhere in the world, wherever you have brandy, you're going to use the fruit that's most prevalent and has the highest sugar content for the region," Dorćol brewer and proprietor Randy Ward said. "In Eastern Europe that tends to be either apricots or pears."
Dorćol imports apricot wine from Serbia and distills it on site to make Kinsman Apricot Rakia.
Expanding the business to include beer was always in the plans. Mobley and Kalusevic partnered with Randy Ward a couple of years after Dorćol's launch. In 2015 the High Wheel beer brand was added. Distribution began in June of 2016.
High Wheel beer is now on tap in Dallas, McAllen, Houston and more than 90 locations here in San Antonio. In March, Dorćol was named the fastest-growing brewery in Texas and the 38th fastest-growing brewery in the United States.
The rakia side of Dorćol's business has an even wider distribution.
Mobley says there are plans for the release of additional brandies and single malt whiskeys in the future.