You’ve probably heard, even traveled, the iconic Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Tennessee Whiskey Trail (if you haven’t, we’ve got bigger issues…), but did you know Colorado— notorious for its hiking, snowsports, and ‘greenery’— has forged a new spirits trail of its own?
Now’s about the time you’re gonna get real thirsty…
Last October, The Colorado Distillers Guild started putting together a comprehensive map of 53 world-class distilleries within the state of Colorado, ranging in expertise from whiskey and vodka to booze as unique as rums and absinthe. They officially launched The Colorado Spirits Trail map in February of 2018 with not only the location and spirit details of each distillery, but the interactive capability to create your own travel itinerary with drive times, directions, and narrowed down regions–all to keep the trip at least a little bit manageable.
After all, Colorado is 380 miles long and 280 miles wide.
… But if that sounds more like a challenge than a deterrence, Sean Smiley, an elected official with the CO Distillers Guild says the entire trail is completely doable.
“Depending on how quickly you can drive, how much money you want to spend, and how much time to devote at each distillery, in theory, you could accomplish the trail in 8-9 days if you really committed. That’s an aggressive three distilleries per day, traveling from Buena Vista to Steamboat to Palisades… but there’s a reward…” Goodie!
If you visit 10 of the 53 distilleries, gaining a special stamp at each location (no cheating, dudes), you’ll be awarded a shirt. Ok, cool, I like shirts… but the big prize comes after visiting all 53 boozy paradises. The first 25 people to complete the entire Colorado Spirits Trail will be sent a signed bottle from each of the 53 locations. Holy liquor heaven, Batman! That’s right, 53 complimentary bottles to start your own apartment bar.
“As a man, there’s something unique and sexy and fun about visiting distilleries and the craftsmanship going behind the scenes of building the stills, the engineering, and chemistry,” adds Smiley. “The final product comes from a lot of dedication and if you’re a connoisseur or appreciate the intense craftsmanship that goes into a world-class spirit, it’s the perfect trip. Keep it broad or narrow it down: explore the world of whiskey or gin or even rum in Colorado and build a trip around that.”
One must-stop-distillery on the Colorado Spirits Trail hails from the Rocky Mountain town of Crested Butte. Open year-round, Montanya Distillers specializes in making a world-class, highly-awarded rum. Of all places, Crested Butte! “This is astounding considering they don’t grow sugarcane anywhere in Colorado,” Smiley adds, “yet it’s where one of the best rum distilleries in the world is located. (Rum and cokes, anyone?)
Build your dream trip to Colorado around the spirits you love… because Vegas, Cancun, and Paris can get old real quick.