Talk Colorado Wine & Colorado's Wine Country: Celebrating Colorado's Craft Distillers, Part II

Friday, March 13, 2009

Celebrating Colorado's Craft Distillers, Part II

Micro-distilleries are a popular new component of Colorado's wine and spirits scene. Whiskey, bourbon, grappa and gin are a few of the quality liquors being produced in limited batches across the state.

(One a side note: the Wine Country Inn proudly serves Palisade's Peach Street Distillers as top shelf liquors during its receptions and events).

One reporter recently took a stab at describing several of Colorado's craft distillers.

Under the subhead, "Peachy Place: Colorado’s First Legal Bourbon," Colorado Springs Independent Reporter Matthew Schniper writes:

"Location, location, location."

"It can make or break a business. It can do lovely things to a drink."

"Consider how the wine world embraces terroir (how a product's unique locale plays into its flavor), and it's a no-brainer why Peach Street Distillers set up shop in fruit-abundant Palisade."

"I go pick what I want," says head distiller Davy Lindig. "[A product] is always better when you can get it from the source."

"Not only does Peach Street use post-mashed sticks, skins and stems from nearby Debeque Canyon Winery to make Grappa, but it uses fresh fruit for a line of Eaux-de-Vie (fruit brandies); local juniper berries, herbs and spices for its gin; and not-too-distant Olathe sweet corn for its vodka and bourbon."

"Yes, Peach Street holds the honor of marketing the first legal bourbon ever made in Colorado. And no, bourbon doesn't have to be from Kentucky."

"To clear up the myth, Lindig says a bourbon must be made in the U.S. out of at least 51 percent corn and age for no less than two years in a brand-new charred-oak barrel. That's basically it."

"People haven't done it before, speculates Lindig, because distillers must endure the expensive start-up and barrel-aging interlude; Peach Street's initial release this past fall yielded a fairly small 200 bottles (available only in the tasting room, at present)."

"To get Peach Street off the ground in November 2005, co-founder Rory Donovan — who partnered with Bill Graham and David Thibodeau of Durango's Ska Brewing Co. — self-distributed statewide."

"I put some miles on the truck," he says. "I was handling 300 accounts from Fort Collins to Telluride."

"But he finally caught the attention of Republic National, a major distributor. Soon, he expects to release 150 six-pack cases of bourbon every four to six months for distribution."

"Peach Street bourbon recently won a gold medal and 90-point rating from the Beverage Tasting Institute, a respected, 28-year-old review organization."

"We're only 3½ with a 2½-year-old whiskey that's getting rated the same scores as 100-year-old distilleries and their 7- and 8-year-old whiskeys," says Donovan. "It tells me, just like with craft brew, when you put some time and effort and slow things down and do it yourself, you can make a hell of a product."

"Everything but Peach Street's bourbon ($58, 750 ml) is available in local liquor stores. Other prices for 750 ml bottles range from $28 to $32."

This is part two of a two part series on Colorado's craft distiller scene. You can read the rest of the article aboutColorado's other craft distillers here.

So, would you drink some of Colorado's distilled spirits?

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