The Rise and Fall and Rise of Spirit Hound Distillers

Here’s a feel-good booze story I wrote for the Whisky Advocate blog. I also write a regular column for the print magazine entitled ‘The Thinking Drinker’ and it’s where I believe I do some of my best work. To subscribe or just test-drive a free trial offer, visit the Whisky Advocate website.

Craig Engelhorn will readily admit that it takes a special kind of crazy to open a whisky distillery, given that the act is committed with the certain knowledge that it will be years before your product is ready to sell. Even so, Engelhorn and his four partners had no idea what kind of chaos awaited Spirit Hound Distillers a mere nine months after they finally got their whisky distillery up and running. Like, over two feet of water sort of chaos.

Lyons, Colorado’s first distillery, Spirit Hound was first conceived by Engelhorn back in 1999, when he was working at the local Oskar Blues Brewery and imagining what might result were the company’s Old Chubb Scotch Ale to be run through a still. Over a decade later, while still toiling at Oskar Blues, he and his co-worker Wayne Anderson hatched a plan to open a business of their own together. Anderson favored a brewery; Engelhorn wanted to make whisky.

Whisky won and over the next two years the duo assembled their partners, secured a location and began building their still. It was ready at the end of 2012, and even though they then had to have their wash produced under contract at a Colorado craft brewery, by the start of 2013 the distillery was up and running.

(Continue reading at Whisky Advocate.)

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