Yeast is an amazing organism. It's a fungus, one we
encounter every day—not only through the fermented
beverages we drink and the bread we eat, but also in the
very air we breath. For millennia, humankind collaborated
with wild yeast to produce wine, beer and bread, yet with
no understanding how it functioned on a molecular level.
With the invention of the microscope, we developed the
skills and techniques to domesticate a few strains of yeast
suitable to our needs, but the vast majority remain wild,
floating on the wind, ready to be discovered (or avoided).
In 2009, Rob Arnold moved from Tennessee to Dallas to
begin a doctoral program in biochemistry. Having earned
a bachelor's degree in microbiology, Arnold was at home in
the labs of the University of Texas. He spent many of his
days isolating marine bacteria from samples of sea water.
Yet, in his off time, Arnold began to dream of starting a dis-
tillery. His family had been in the alcohol industry for gen-
erations, and it seemed to him the right avenue for applying
his skills and passion.
The Wild Yeast of Firestone
& Robertson Distilling Co.
story & photography by ERIC ZANDONA