Bookworm of Edwards and 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co. team up for event |

Bookworm of Edwards and 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co. team up for event

Christian Avignon, left, and Ryan Thompson are starting up a distillery in the valley together. They are set to be open for business this summer with the 10th Mountain Whiskey Spirit Company.
Anthony Thornton | |

If you go ...

What: Whiskey and Book Pairing with 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co.

When; 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Bookworm of Edwards.

Cost: $40. Tickets include a tasting, appetizers, and a copy of the book “Whiskey Distilled.” A couple’s ticket price is also available for $65.

More information: The event is limited to 30 people. Call 970-926-READ.

Whiskey is for everyone.

That’s the idea that Christopher Green, a bookseller at The Bookworm of Edwards, wants to convey at the upcoming Whiskey and Book Pairing event at the bookstore on Tuesday evening.

10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co., Vail’s first distillery, is partnering with The Bookworm for the event. Distillery owners will walk guests through flights of the distillery’s moonshine, rye whiskey and bourbon. Eric Berg is catering the event; the menu was still being finalized as of Friday afternoon.


Following the success of a sold-out event this summer with Colorado author Maximilian Potter that was paired with French burgundy, The Bookworm decided to host a similar event, but this time showcasing local spirits.

“We thought whiskey might be the right next step,” said The Bookworm of Edwards owner Nicole Magistro.

Ryan Thompson and Christian Avignon, the owners of 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co., are “customers who we love and who we are rooting for as another local business,” Magistro continued. “We felt it was the right pairing for another exclusive, educational event.”

The owners of the distillery attended Moonshine University in Louisville, Kentucky about a year and a half ago, Thompson said. During a Kickstarter campaign in April, 140 people pledged $27,910 ($25K was the goal) — to help launch the business.

There’s a tasting room on Bridge Street in Vail that’s been serving up sips of its five bottles — moonshine, whiskey, bourbon, vodka and Alpenglow, which is a sage-infused peach vanilla cordial — since early September. Avignon’s grandfather, Fred Vetter, was a medic in the 10th Mountain Division, and the inspiration behind the distillery’s name.


10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirits Co. will serve three types of whiskey at Tuesday’s event including:

• Rye Whiskey: This 86-proof golden amber whiskey is made using 95 percent rye. “It has aromas of oak and dark fruit, caramel and cinnamon on the nose,” Thompson said. “The palate is full bodied, with a touch of toffee. It has a dry finish with lingering spice and oak notes.”

• Moonshine. The moonshine is made using 100 percent Colorado corn and qualifies as a whiskey because it’s an all-grain spirit and is not distilled more than 160 proof, according to Thompson. There’s a hint of corn on the palate with a little sweetness and it finishes crisp and clean, Thompson said. This crystal clear liquor is “a little different from most moonshines out there,” Thompson said. “We bottle our moonshine at 80 proof so it doesn’t slap you in the face and knock you out of the back of your chair when you drink it. It’s a good sipping moonshine.”

Sipping and moonshine, now those are two words you don’t hear used together often.

• Bourbon: Put your nose next to this bourbon and you’ll smell hints of vanilla, oak and maple. “The palate is smooth and medium bodied. There’s roasted nuts on the palate and sweet vanilla on the finish,” Thompson said.


Green and Magistro chose the new book “Whiskey Distilled” by Heather Greene to feature at the event. A copy of the book is included in the ticket price.

“Heather is an amazing spirits sommelier in New York, and one of the only female voices advocating for whiskey education,” Magistro said. “Like Andrea Immer 15 years ago in the wine business, Heather Greene is doing a great job at conveying how much complexity and story whiskey has to offer.”

Many of the books about whiskey are very similar, written in the same format from the same perspective, Green said. Not this one.

“It’s written by a woman, which is great,” Green said. “One of the airs whiskey has is it’s not for everyone. It seems almost to be exclusively a man’s drink. To have an extremely well-educated woman writing about whiskey gives it a more accessible feel. That’s the message I want to get across. My hope is the event, the book and the tasting helps people see that whiskey is for everyone.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 and Follow her on Twitter @caramieschnell.

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