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- Setting up the filling station at Breckenridge Distillery. Photo by Sydney Fox Setting up the filling station at Breckenridge Distillery. Photo by Sydney Fox
Small-batch artisan distilleries are an emerging trend in mountain towns where high mineral content snowmelt yields high-quality spirits. Located in the heart of Summit County, Breckenridge Distillery's every batch is carefully distilled until it reaches bottling age. Then the call goes out for volunteers to help bottle, cork, and box the liquor. I bottled bourbon, the same spirit that was recently awarded a gold medal at the 2011 International Wine & Spirit Competition in the United Kingdom.
After receiving our instructions—cleaning bottles, filling, hammering in corks, putting on safety seals—we dispersed and got to work. We bottled and boxed close to five pallets of bourbon, with only one broken bottle and six crooked seals as casualties. The master distillers gave a tour during the dinner break, opening the still to reveal aging vodka, explaining the nuances that make their spirits different. At the end of the night we all went home with a bottle of our choice, a full belly, and a buzz warming us against the chilly night.
Visit breckenridgedistillery.com to join them for a night of bottling. These distilleries are also looking for volunteers:
RoughStock Distillery At the base of the Bridger Mountain Range in Bozeman, Montana, the distillery specializes in whiskey. montanawhiskey.com
Glacier Distilling Located in Northwest Montana, Glacier Distilling welcomes visitors in their remote location. glacierdistilling.com
Dry Fly Distilling Bottling takes place in Spokane, Washington every Thursday night and Saturday and Sunday mornings. It must be fun—they're booked for the next year and a half. dryflydistilling.com
Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey Every bottle of whiskey bears a label revealing what music was playing when it was sealed. Enter the lottery system to get an invite. stranahans.com —Sydney Fox