Delightful Distillations


By Kim D. McHugh

A TRIO OF DISTILLERIES is delighting consumers by crafting award-winning artisan spirits 

Photo by Oliver Tollison

It may surprise you to learn there are reportedly more than 1,000 brands of vodka worldwide and north of 2,200 spirits distilleries in the U.S. alone. According to the Colorado Distiller’s Guild, there are more than 90 distillers statewide crafting small-batch vodka, whiskey, gin, bourbon, rum, rye and liqueurs. Here’s a glimpse at three distilling their award-winning products at higher altitudes.

Marble Vodka is proudly distilled—along with other handcrafted spirits—at Marble Distillery in Carbondale. In addition to its grain-based 80-proof vodka, co-founders Carey Shanks and
Connie Baker and their skilled team use locally sourced, non-GMO grains to make whiskeys such as Hoover’s Revenge, rye whiskey, bourbon whiskey and Fightin’ Whiskey—its numbered and signed 100-proof crowd pleaser.

Photo by Oliver Tollison | Connie Baker, Co-founder

Marble’s Moonlight EXpresso and Moonlight EXpresso Reserve coffee liqueurs and its two Gingercellos give a nod to the thousands of Italian craftsmen who worked in Marble’s Yule Quarry 100 years ago—the same quarry where the marble was sourced for parts of the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the
Unknown Soldier.

“The Moonlight EXpresso is my mom’s recipe. She would always make this coffee liqueur for handmade holiday gifts, so I called her after completing distilling school and asked if she still had the recipe. It has been one of our biggest award winners,” Baker says.

The 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirit Company was founded in 2014 by Ryan Thompson, the company’s president, as a tribute to the brave soldiers of World War II’s 10th Mountain Division. Based in Gypsum, the small-batch distillery produces an array of products, including 10th Mountain bourbon; rye whiskey; American single malt whiskey; brandy; potato vodka; a sage-infused, peach-vanilla cordial; and Colorado Clear Mountain Moonshine.

Photo Courtesy of 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirit Company

Named the “Craft Distillery of the Year” in 2021 by RackHouse Whiskey Club, the brand honors veterans from the 10th Mountain Division, including Pete Seibert, one of the founders of Vail, and the products capture the spirit of Vail’s outdoor lifestyle. 

“As a nine-year-old distillery, this recognition really means a ton to our entire team of fourteen. We’re grateful and will keep on making our spirits as long as people keep on drinking ’em!” Thompson says.

Photo Courtesy of 10th Mountain Whiskey and Spirit Company

Shortly after P.T. Wood and his brother, Lee, received their distilling license in 2012, they launched Wood’s High Mountain Distillery in Salida, starting with a 150-liter pot still built in the 1880s that they nicknamed “Ashley.” Along with its modern stills, the company produces Sawatch American malt whiskey, Tenderfoot malt whiskey, Alpine rye whiskey, Dawn Patrol single malt whiskey, Distiller’s Reserve whiskey series, three styles of gin, potato vodka and an elderberry liqueur.

Photos Courtesy Wood’s High Mountain Distillery

Inspired by London’s dry-style gins, the company’s Treeline gin is distilled from grain spirits with Colorado-grown juniper. Its Treeline barrel-rested gin employs the extra step of aging in American white oak barrels. At the same time, a marriage of Rocky Mountain juniper, cascade hops and elderflowers give the Mountain Hopped gin an earthy, floral spirit. 

“We’re not trying to copy anybody else’s style,” P.T. Woods says. “We like to put a unique stamp on everything.” Accordingly, Ashley and P.T.’s signature handlebar mustache are prominent graphics on
the labels.

Photo Courtesy Wood’s High Mountain Distillery | Taylor at the Bar

150 Mainstreet, Carbondale 

227 Bridge St., Unit F, Vail 

144 W. 1st Street, Salida 

Breckenridge Distillery,

Durango Craft Spirits,

Honey House Distillery,

KJ Wood Distillers,

Montanya Distillers,
Crested Butte,

Sand Creek Distillery,

Stoneyard Distillery,

Telluride Distilling Company,

Woody Creek Distillers,

808 Distillery,