Later, there would be a booming distillery. There would be artesian springs and copper stills and 11 employees, all cranking out luxury vodka, right there in the heart of Texas. But first, there was just an elementary school kid with an awesome fixation.

"This sounds crazy, but the seed truly took hold when I was a young child," says Gary Kelleher, co-founder and master distiller of Dripping Springs Vodka. "My great, great grandfather was a vodka maker for the Czar of Russia, and as a little kid, I heard all these stories about it from my great aunt. So, at age 7, I announced that I would make vodka when I grew up. And I hung onto the idea."