Colorado Mountain Distilleries You Shouldn’t Miss
Craft spirits to warm you up this winter
Photo by Nathan Bilow
For decades, Colorado has been known for its award-winning craft beer, but craft spirits have surged in popularity over the past five or so years, with distilleries popping up in towns throughout the state. And these distillers are whipping up some top-shelf hooch.
Here are a few Colorado mountain distilleries you shouldn’t miss.
Montanya Distillers (above)
Crested Butte, Colorado
Founded in 2008, Montanya Distillers has just one focus: They make rum, and they make it well. Today their rum is available in 42 states and seven countries. Of course, visiting the distillery in Crested Butte is the best way to experience Montanya Distillers and their rum.
Montanya’s Crested Butte rum bar oozes Colorado charm, just like the rest of the town. From a fresh Mojito to a sweet Maharaja, you’ll find an array of mixed drinks available, along with a tapas menu. See the cocktail list, including recipes, here. Or, you can try some free rum tasters to decide on a favorite. In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with any of Montanya’s rums.
Photo courtesy of Durango Craft Spirits
Durango Craft Spirits
In January 2015, Michael and Amy McCardell opened Durango’s first-ever legal distillery, Durango Craft Spirits. Michael is a craftsman and has created the smoothest vodka I’ve ever sipped. Even my husband, who has always disliked vodka, was surprised at how nicely Michael’s Soiled Doves vodka goes down.
To create this vodka, which is perfect in a gimlet, Durango Craft Spirits uses corn from the Ute Mountain Farm near Cortez, Colorado, and grain from Alamosa. Today, Michael also has a whiskey available; I can’t wait to try it the next time I’m in town. With his penchant for excellence, it’s sure to be good.
The tasting room is in downtown, and its laid-back vibe fits perfectly with Durango’s chill atmosphere.
Artist rendering of KJ Wood Distillers new building
KJ Wood Distillers
Originally located in Berthoud, Colorado, KJ Wood Distillers moved their operation to the beautiful mountain town of Ouray earlier this year. There they are building a full tasting room with a pub serving up European fare and fondue.
KJ Wood Distillers makes my all-time favorite gin, Jinn Gin. This floral gin makes an excellent mixer, but I prefer it over ice because it’s that good. Owner, John Wood, also makes a whiskey, utilizing Colorado barley and blue corn. Also available from KJ Wood Distillers, Berthoud Blue Vodka.
They plan to have their new Ouray facility open by Valentine’s Day weekend. In the meantime you can find their spirits in a handful of liquor stores in Colorado.