Technique meets Aesthetics.
Having lived in many of the major cities in the US, Jason Houston with his partner Sadye Rose W settled on an industrial unit on the edge of Longmont (Sadye’s home town), to pursue their dream of a somewhat arty, self-reliant life, away from the hustle and bustle and stress of the metropolises. They have no dreams of grandeur and with their self-built micro-distilling equipment, are content to see their customers visit the distillery while enjoying a wide variety of performance entertainment and the rotating art exhibits.
Like many micro-distillery founders, Jason already had a long interest in home fermenting and distilling, and when feeling the need for a career change, he and Sadye decided to take the leap into commercial distilling. This happened back in 2011 at a time when it was still necessary to travel some distance between the craft distilleries in Colorado; a state that has lead the movement. Sharing his idea with Sadye, the basic distillery project evolved into the present distillery and bar.
After a long two and a half years of securing the various permissions, settling on a suitable building, designing and/or making most of the equipment and fitting out the facility mostly by themselves, the spirit started flowing for the public in January 2014; making them the 17th licensed distillery in Colorado. The distillery clearly falls into the category of “craft”, with the owner-operator duo gaining considerable fulfillment from experimenting and with rarely two batches being the same. From a time when consumers expected consistency, todays more enlightened drinker can take great delight in never knowing exactly what the next bottle will taste like. I sampled two batches of the Apple Brandy, the Apple Ginger Brandy and the Apple Cinnamon Brandy, and each pair of bottles tasted quite different. This is not just due to the experimentation but also to the direct infusion of natural ingredients. In fact as there is no chill filtering before bottling, so the brandies in particular are continuing to develop in the bottle.
Brandy, whiskey and vodka all start out with a stripping run, followed by multiple polishing runs in the clearly self-made 180-gallon (650 liters) “whiskey” still with its 3-lynne armed adaptation. Copper plates and solid blocks of copper inside the still work to remove the natural sulphur in the spirit. Whatever is not destined to become whiskey or brandies goes twice through the second tiny 15-gallon still and becomes vodka.
The whiskey is made from 100% malted barley but it can still vary depending on the season it is distilled. 25 gallon toasted, rather than charred, barrels are used to mature the Scottish styled whiskey for about 18 months. The resulting flavor is quite malty, grassy and biscuity with only a hint of oak. According to Jason, he would like to think that this is how Scotch whisky would have tasted like, hundreds of years ago.
Their fruit brandies are infused with actual fruit and more interestingly their “sipping” vodka is made from apples and barley and is not a true neutral spirit, although is distilled to 95% proof in order to qualify. The percentage of apple to barley will vary each time, so even the vodka may vary in taste!
All proudly organic and lovingly hand made.
Still Cellars Whiskey Barely
Still Cellars Vodka
Still Cellars Apple StraightUp Eau-de-vie