Colorado might be famous for its ski slopes and outdoor activities, but its lively distilling scene can’t be overlooked. Here is a peek at 10 must-visit Colorado distilleries and what makes them special. There are all-in-one destinations, like Marble Distilling in Carbondale, with its boutique hotel located inside the distillery. Others are a short walk to great hotels, restaurants, and bars with top-notch whisky menus and fun, only-in-Colorado activities (a whitewater rafting trip that drops you off at a whiskey tasting room, anyone?). All of them share the magic of Colorado’s crisp mountain water, high altitude, and unpredictable weather. From the better-known distilleries to your new favorite hidden gem, Colorado whiskey has something to offer across the board.
Stranahan’s: The Original Colorado Whiskey
To many people, Stranahan’s is Colorado whiskey. It was the first legal distillery to open after Prohibition and is the state’s oldest whiskey distillery. Since its founding in 2004, Stranahan’s has continued to grow, yet remains laser-focused.
Breckenridge Distillery: The World’s Highest Distillery
Today, Breckenridge Distillery is one of Colorado’s most popular. It has grown to employ 125 people, including head distiller Hans Stafsholt, and encompasses a broad portfolio.
Laws Whiskey House: A Terroir-Driven Passion Project
Laws Whiskey House is all about whiskey—and only whiskey—and was the first Colorado distiller to release bottled in bond expressions of both bourbon and rye. All Laws whiskeys are made from local heirloom and heritage grains grown in southern Colorado.
Leopold Bros: A Unique Approach to Distillation
Leopold Bros. is run by brothers and Colorado natives Todd and Scott Leopold, who originally opened this venture as a microbrewery in Michigan back in 1999. Two years later, the brothers expanded into distilling, and nine years later, they returned home to Colorado, where the business continues to thrive.
Distillery 291: Built From Repurposed Materials and a Repurposed Career
The September 11th terrorist attacks changed everything for then-New York City fashion photographer Michael Myers. He moved to be closer to family in Colorado Springs and decided to give distilling a try, thus launching 291 Colorado Whiskey.
Wood’s High Mountain Distillery: Searching For Signature Flavors
P.T. Wood and his brother Lee were inspired to distill when they saw a friend’s antique German pot still. They bought that 150-liter unit, got it running again (naming it Ashley), scouted out a location in Salida, and opened Wood’s High Mountain Distillery in 2012 with that 1880 still at the heart of their production.
Old Town Distilling Co.: An Environmentally Conscious Creator
Old Town Distilling, the first certified-organic distillery in northern Colorado, makes small-batch whiskey from organic grains grown at a nearby farm, and it uses a hand-hammered alembic copper pot still made in Portugal.
Downslope Distilling: Small But Mighty
A 220-gallon unique “double diamond” pot still is the defining characteristic of Downslope Distilling, which dates back to 2009. President Zach Thomas’s motivation was to make excellent, complex spirits on a small scale.
Woody Creek Distillers: Vodka Distillery Turned Whiskey Maker
Woody Creek, founded in 2012, was a pioneer in the farm-to-bottle movement. The goal was to use local, in-season ingredients to create world-class vodka—and they did, eventually making four unique whiskeys.
Marble Distilling: A Luxurious Destination for Whiskey Lovers
Marble Distilling, not far from Aspen, is built for a whiskey vacation. It’s a sustainable distillery, set to go net-zero this year, and uses only Colorado-grown grains.