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Home Places Meet & Eat High Spirits at Colorado Distilleries

High Spirits at Colorado Distilleries

By Kassidy Tarala

Sometimess a boardroom just won’t cut it for a meeting. When you want to lighten the mood, create a fun atmosphere or invite your team to an elevated happy hour, consider booking space in one of Colorado’s many distilleries. 

From breathtaking mountain views and intimate event spaces to cock- tail-making classes and sampling sessions, distilleries offer a comfortable setting for meetings, events, team-building and everything in between.

Dry Land Distillers
Located in Longmont, Dry Land Distillers is an international award-winning distillery known for its single grain, 100 percent wheat whiskeys and original spirits with native prickly pear cactus.

“Our spirits are developed to authentically bring Colorado into our bottles, and we use only the original agricultural ingredients. All our spirits are distilled on-site, and each one is from an original recipe,” says Nels Wroe, founder.

Dry Land Distillers offers a small, com- fortable mid-century space that can seat up to 20 people bar-style with small tables and chairs. Team-building workshops are avail- able for groups, including an option where guests develop their own gin, try completing a whiskey mash or team up to create signature cocktails.

“Dry Land Distillers can enroll individuals or small groups into Distiller for a Day, Create Your Own Cocktails, Cocktails 101 or other custom-developed classes. Group tastings are always available,” Wroe says.

Prices range from $150-$300 per hour depending on the time of year and day of the week. The tab for buyouts typically includes cocktails as part of the rental, and bar snacks  and cookies are included at no additional fee. “Dry Land Catering is also available,” notes Wroe. “We can offer foods such as our famous Colorado green chili, melted onion pizzas and a range of other selections from our catering partner. Groups are welcome to bring in their own food or snacks, and we can arrange to order food from a range of local restaurants, including Rosalee’s Pizzeria, Smokin Bowls, Summit Tacos, or Georgia Boys BBQ.”

Elkins Distilling Co. 
You really can’t get more Colorado than this Estes Park distillery. Elkins Distilling Co. boasts a large, open tasting room that can accommodate 70 standing or 60 seated. At about 1,500 square feet, the space is cozy and welcoming after coming in from the spacious outdoor patio with mountain views, fire pits, picnic tables and seating for 50 to 60 guests.

“Outside of just the space and the view, we offer tours (various levels of education) and tastings. The process of trying various spirits, describing what one is tasting, whether you like it or not, and being able to express why is a lot more challenging than you might think,” says McShan Walker, founder.

Most often, Elkins Distilling Co. hosts rehearsal dinners, wedding receptions and other celebrations, but the space is also used for a speaker series called Wilderness and Whisky that brings together people from con- servationists and scientists to athletes and art- ists who are looking out for the land everyone enjoys and depends on.

“We’ve held various political meet and greets, fundraisers for our community, local artist expos, corporate meetings and just about anything that involves people coming together for an event we’d like to be a part of,” Walker adds.

Elkins Distilling Co. offers patio rentals or full buyouts from $100-$600 per hour, depending on the day of the week, time of day/ year, number of people and space needed.

Marble Distilling Co.

With tasting rooms in Carbondale and Aspen, Marble Distilling Co. provides welcoming spaces with modern mountain décor and a focus on sustainability. In Carbondale, the tasting room can accommodate 60 seated or 95 standing and the barrel club can host 20 seated and 35 standing. Two outdoor patios, one covered with a fireplace and the other open-air for summer and fall, also are options. Marble Bar Aspen opened in 2017 within the Hyatt Residence Club Grand Aspen and is a great spot for lounging fireside and finding live music, comedy, trivia and more.

“We are a first-of-its-kind sustainable dis- tillery being named by the Sierra Club as one of five distilleries in the world who are ‘toasting the planet’s health.’ We are the first distillery to have a hotel housed in the same building as the distillery, so you can ‘sleep with the stills,’” says Connie Baker, head distiller.

Marble Distilling Co. offers a Tour & Tasting where groups can see firsthand the sustainable distilling practices and then utilize the tasting room or barrel club for meetings, team-building and events. Other events in Carbondale include comedy, trivia, Class & Glass (think painting, ceramics, yoga and cocktails), and music. Group tastings are available by request along with a weeklong DIY Distilling Class, where guests can make their own whiskey and barrel it.

Rentals of the barrel club are $500 on Fridays and Saturdays, and a buyout of Marble Bar Aspen is $1,500. Full buyouts of the tast- ing room, barrel club and distillery at the Carbondale location are $2,500. Weekdays are seasonally priced.

Montanya Distillers
Located in Crested Butte, Montanya Distillers is known for both its premium rums, No. 1 Restaurant in Crested Butte rating on TripAdvisor, and commitment to the envi- ronment, local community and its staff. As a certified B Corporation, Montanya Distillers also is committed to being a force for good and putting people and the planet before profit.

With an emphasis on premium American craft rum, artisan cocktails and keeping ingredients simple, Montanya Distillers often wows guests with its flavors and all-natural ingredients: non-GMO sugar cane grown in Louisiana, mountain spring water and yeast. Montanya Distillers also makes its own cocktail bitters and frequently experiments with new recipes, changing up the cocktail and food menus seasonally.

The welcoming atmosphere can accommo- date 75 in a cocktail-style setup or 56 seated, and owners Brice and Karen Hoskin encourage groups to take advantage of the distillery’s experiences, including artisan cocktail lessons and free tastings and distillery tours. Groups can reserve certain sections or purchase full buyouts, which are priced on an event-by-event basis.

Steamboat Whiskey Company
Self-described as Wild West meets industrial, Steamboat Whiskey Company in Steamboat Springs boasts 1,100 square feet of space, including an outdoor patio complete with a fire pit. The distillery’s lounge seating, bar seat- ing and stage make it an ideal venue for groups interested in watching bands perform live.

“We do holiday parties, birthday/surprise parties, professional networking events, business happy hours, fundraisers like the Puppy Pageant, which is just what it sounds like. We donate the profits to animal charities,” says founder Jessica Newhall.

With almost everything made in-house, from the spirits to the tonics, Steamboat Whiskey Company puts new meaning behind “locally made.” More importantly, Newhall adds, Steamboat Whiskey Company donates thousands of dollars every year to local non- profits and as a veteran-owned and operated business, donates to several charities serving veterans.

“Whiskey has been at the center of social gatherings for millennia. It is nature’s old- est social lubricant and helps break the ice,” Newhall says. “The cozy vibe in our bar helps people feel comfortable so they can relax and have fun with their teammates.”

Steamboat Whiskey Company offers tours by appointment, which can include group tast- ings. Pricing is dependent on event specifics.

Stranahan’s Distillery
Located in Denver, Stranahan’s Distillery offers flexible event space options. The Distillery Lounge can hold 30 seated or 40 reception-style, the Pilot Still Room hosts up to 30, and the Visitor Center can accommodate up to 75 guests for a reception when combining the Distillery Lounge, General Store and Tasting Room. A full distillery buyout translates into a maximum of 450 guests for a reception.

Stranahan’s Distillery, the first legal distillery in Colorado’s post-Prohibition era, also offers a variety of tours, whiskey tastings and cocktail classes. The most popular option for groups is the VIP tour, which includes a 1.5-hour, in-depth look into the more technical aspects of the distilling process, with special tastings not offered to the general public. It can be incorporated into a venue rental or hosted on its own. Private cocktail classes for up to 20 guests are led by a head mixologist in the Distillery Lounge.

Rental rates vary depending on the venue selected and add-ons, like the private VIP tours, cocktail classes and custom-engraved whiskey bottles as take-home gifts. All venue rentals include use of the venue for up to four hours, dedicated mixologists and servers, and curated seasonal cocktails.

Telluride Distilling Company
Last on our list of Colorado distilleries—though there are certainly many more we could mention—is Telluride Distilling Company. Located in southwest Colorado, this Telluride distillery has a 2,200-square-foot tasting room that feels like a tranquil cabin setting, com- plete with billiards and several TVs. The tasting room doesn’t close for private events, but the distillery welcomes plenty of meetings and team-building activities.

Classes and tastings are available for groups, and since the distillery doesn’t close to the public, it’s a convenient place to meet when a traditional buyout fee isn’t in the budget.

Even if there is no time in a meeting itinerary to plan a distillery event, consider bringing Colorado spirits and distillers on-site for a tasting or reception. You won’t be disappointed or thirsty!