The spirits are among us: Local distillery creates small-batch, large-flavor spirits
Seth Lowe got into distilling the way many people do — as a hobby. A service-industry veteran since age 18, his original goal was to make gifts for friends and family. Maybe it was the copper alembic still he used, which has a 1,200-year-old history that includes, among other things, alchemy — but after giving away bottles of a spiced whiskey for Christmas gifts to rave reviews, he realized he might have gold on his hands.
And so in 2013 Lowe decided to give it a try and created 39 North Spirits, based in Eagle. And what was that fateful blend that nudged him into turning pro?
“I blended what is basically now the same recipe as our spiced whiskey,” says Lowe, which is what they based the professional operation on. But it didn’t stay that way for long. “We moved on to a rye and bourbon. We then began distillation of our vodka and gin once our new still was operational.”
The current lineup includes vodka, gin, spiced whiskey, a straight single barrel bourbon, as well as a canned cocktail, the “Mountain Mule,” a collaboration between 39 North Spirits and Lost Identity Beverage Company, based in Gypsum. As cans are perfect for summertime fun, they also collaborated with Lost Identity to make a canned Gin and Tonic. Being a small distillery with increasing demand, they are continuously in distilling mode.
What sets them apart in the crowd?
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“I know the word gets thrown around quite a bit these days but it comes down to craftsmanship and truly caring about every product you put on the market,” Lowe says passionately. “Each batch of spiced whiskey is macerated with fresh orange and lemon skins that are microplaned by hand. This is then mixed with a handmade tincture and the entire product sits for a minimum of 30 days before bottling at over 100 proof. There is no way to speed up the process if we want consistency, and the product that we and our customers value.”
And so it goes with everything on the 39 North Spirits roster. Though they are a small company that self distributes in Colorado, little by little they’re getting easier to find. Their facility doesn’t lend itself well to being a tasting room, but local restaurants such as Vin48 and The Rose, along with liquor stores like West Vail Liquor Mart, Riverwalk Wine and Spirits, Boone’s and Avon Liquor have been carrying their products from the very beginning.
To learn more, visit their website at 39northspirits.com.