Colorado Proud: Top Distilleries in the State

August 21, 2013

Photo by Gregor Torrence, via Flickr

Colorado is well-known for its great selection of microbrews, but did you know that the distillery business in Colorado is rapidly expanding? Here are a few noteworthy distilleries that are worth checking out.

Stranahan’s Whiskey 
Stranahan’s started with a barn fire that volunteer firefighter Jess Graber responded to. When the fire settled, he discovered a shared passion for whiskey with the owner, George Stranahan, and the two started Stranahan’s Whiskey together.

It has quickly made its mark on the craft distillery business, and now distributes throughout the state. Visit the distillery in Denver, and don’t forget to stop for lunch or dinner at the great restaurant, Rackhouse Pub, attached to the distillery.

Breckenridge Distillery
Located in the fun mountain town of Breckenridge, the distillery is the highest-altitude registered distillery in the world. They have won several awards for their bourbon whiskey (using that Rocky Mountain snowmelt water) and also make a tasty vodka. Visit the distillery for a tour or stop by the tasting room if you are in downtown Breck.

Peach Street Distillers
Palisade may be best known for their amazing peaches, but if you are in town, the distillery is not to be overlooked. With several interesting spirits to sample – Peach Brandy for example – you are not going to be disappointed.

Downslope Distilling
Downslope was started by two friends who decided to grow their home brew hobby into a business. They have several different types of spirits, including vodka, rum, and whiskey. For something unusual, try the pepper vodka or the vanilla rum. Downslope takes the distilling process seriously, but also shares the love of distilling through its distillery class. If you are looking for a place to learn how to brew at home, the class just might be for you.

Montanya Distillers 
Crested Butte
At Montanya the focus is on rum. This distillery makes its high altitude rum with only four ingredients – Colorado mountain water, yeast, sugar cane, and a touch of Colorado mountain honey. The rum bar offers cocktails, distillery tours, and free tastings.

Leopold Bros.
Leopold Bros. is run by two brothers who grew up in Denver and is very focused on environmental sustainability. Like Stranahan's, Leopold Bros. has grown rapidly and now distributes its products not only throughtout the state, but also to several other states around the country. Leopold Bros. is perhaps best known for their gin, but they make several other award-winning products including vodka, whiskey, several liqueurs, and absinthe.

These are just a few of my favorites – what Colorado-proud distillery is your favorite?