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Colorado Distilleries Collaborate On A Colorado Wheat Whiskey

A total of seven Colorado distilleries recently announced the release of the Colorado Distillers Collaboration Straight Wheat Whiskey.

The collaborative statement explained that this whiskey was five years in the making, and is a coordinated distillation between 291 Colorado Whiskey, Bear Creek Distillery, Laws Whiskey House, Old Elk Distillery, State 38 Distilling, Wood’s High Mountain Distillery and Woody Creek Distillers.

A collaboration of this size is a rarity in the whiskey world, and the distillers noted that it came about as a product of the group’s long-standing relationships looking to highlight the camaraderie among Colorado’s distilling community.

Colorado Distillers Collaboration
A total of seven Colorado distilleries recently announced the release of the Colorado Distillers Collaboration Straight Wheat Whiskey. (image via Colorado Distillers Collaboration)

And, of course, they wanted to make a one-of-a-kind Colorado wheat whiskey.

“It is not uncommon to see breweries doing collaborations with other local breweries, even with distilleries,” said Sean Smiley, co-owner of State 38 Distillery. “However, I did find it strange that distilleries were not doing collaborative projects with other local distilleries, despite being a tight network that frequently meets and discusses strategies and recipes with each other.”

He said this is probably the first time in Colorado history that a group of distilleries who all make their whiskey from grain to glass have come together to make a common blended product to not only share with the local community and raise awareness of their brands, but also raise money for their local charities.

Their statement explained that this collaboration started a half decade ago with three conditions agreed upon by all seven partners: First, only distillate made by the participating distilleries could be added to the collaboration; Second, each distillery would use the same Centennial Wheat grown and supplied by Colorado Malting Company; And third, 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the collaboration whiskey would be contributed to Colorado nonprofits.

It was during the spring of 2018 when each distillery individually distilled a 100 percent Centennial Wheat whiskey, an heirloom soft white spring wheat grown by the Cody family in Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

The whiskeys were then transferred, married, and barreled together by Laws Whiskey House in Denver. After more than four years of aging, the collaboration whiskey was ready for release.

The distillers explained that the growing conditions of the San Luis Valley of Southern Colorado, home of the Colorado Malting Company farm, stress the heirloom varietal spring wheat just enough to provide distinctive terroir-driven flavors. The result is a soft and floral whiskey with fruit notes and barrel aromas of vanilla, caramel, bergamot, and black tea.

All materials for the whiskey making were donated, including the wheat grain from Colorado Malting Company and the barrels from Independent Stave Company, Canton, and Atlas Barrel Company. The bottles were donated from O-I Glass, corks from Tapi Group, and the labels from Columbine Label Company.

Those contributions helped the collaboration get to 100 percent of the whiskey’s sales going toward charitable causes.

The causes selected by the distilleries include Bridge of Hope, Urban Peak, Chaffee County Community Foundation, Larimer County Food Bank, and Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink.

“It’s amazing to look back at the relationships created over the last 10 years, to celebrate Colorado whiskey and give back to our community,” said Michael Myers, founder of 291 Colorado Whiskey. “Each Colorado distillery brings its unique flavor profile, rich history, and the dedication of its distillers. This collaboration is a testament to the thriving craft distilling industry in our state and our collective spirit.”

The Colorado Distillers Collaboration Straight Wheat Whiskey will only be available in the tasting rooms of the participating distilleries. Each distillery has 105 bottles available, and they have a suggested retail price of $74.99.

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