Wilson Valley Mercantile

Little River, Texas

Wilson Valley Mercantile

Little River, Texas

Seed to Sip

Nestled in Little River, Texas, Wilson Valley Mercantile is the first and only legal distillery in the Bell County region. Fifth-generation farmer John Evans and his wife Erica started the operation and hope to pass it on to their children.

The Evans family does it all. In addition to the distillery that opened in 2022, they farm corn, wheat, oats and occasionally cotton, run cow-calf operations in Bell, Lavaca and Victory counties. They raise registered Charolais and purebred Brahman cattle as well as sell and service precision ag equipment.

The Evans operate a ‘Seed to Sip’ distillery, where their whiskey is primarily made with the grain grown on their family farm.

“There are very few places in the country and in the world where you can go and get a bourbon where the grain was all grown by the same people that run the distillery,” John explained. “Just to have something unique, something that will lead more into agritourism and telling our story about the area and our family.”

A Unique Partnership

Wilson Valley Mercantile operates in the strenuous industry of production agriculture. They primarily receive most of their revenue only two months out of the year, and are grateful for the financial support offered by AgTrust Farm Credit.

“It's a big deal to have a working relationship with whoever you're using for your production credit. It's invaluable,” John said.

Farm Credit strives to serve every part of agriculture, from the smallest operations to the largest and everything in between – including agribusinesses.

“When people think of farm credit financing, most of the time they think of row crop or farming and ranching, but they often don't think about agribusiness,” Laramie Eppler, loan officer at AgTrust Farm Credit, said. “For John's example, he's taking commodities that he grows on the farm, putting a little bit of labor into them, and then producing a farm-related product at the end. And we can finance those type of institutions as well.”

As with any small business, John wears many hats at his operation. With centuries of family farming and tradition under his belt, he hopes to keep the distillery running for future generations.

“The distillery, in my mind, is a way to make sure the sixth generation has something that they can do,” he said.