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whiskey

Live, Travel

A Visit to the Breckenridge Distillery

July 17, 2015

I’m not a big whiskey drinker. I rarely order spirits and I typically don’t do mixed drinks or cocktails. Pass me a glass of Malbec or Rioja or a hoppy IPA or nice Belgian beer and I am a happy camper. I may be a beer and wine kind of girl but sometimes I make exceptions.

This is one of those times.

My family and I spend a lot of time in Summit County, Colorado. And by a lot of time I mean a good several weeks in the summer, plus a bunch of holidays, plus many random weekends here and there. The mountains around Breckenridge are our home away from home, a place that now three generations of my family have loved. We camp there, mountain bike there, ski and snowboard there, paddleboard there, and hang out with family there. My parents honeymooned there back in the 70s and are now part time residents. It’s a place we know and love.

Breck may be undeniably beautiful but it’s also pretty touristy. It’s a place where, when I heard that a distillery had opened up, I didn’t get all that excited. I’m a big supporter of the craft beer/bourbon/basically everything else movement but my experience with these kinds of places in these kinds of towns has often felt a little bit lacking, like sometimes they rely on a captive audience of out of towners that are ready to drop some cash whether the stuff they are drinking is good or not.

And then I tasted Breck Bourbon.

You guys. This stuff? This stuff is really good. I am in no way qualified to describe the flavors of the bourbon or what makes it taste so great. I just know that it does. This isn’t the kind of stuff that you shoot or mix into a tasteless oblivion. This is the kind of stuff that you savor. And I’m certainly not the only one that feels that way.

The amount of time we spend in Summit County combined with our love of Breck Bourbon meant it was only a matter of time before we visited the distillery and went on a tour. And then went back a few months later and did it again.

Itty bitty bottles of Bourbon, bound for Frontier Airlines.

These guys love what they do. They love to show you around and explain how the Rocky Mountain snowmelt makes for some exceptional tasting liquors. They love to tell you how the community has rallied around the distillery and how almost everyone in Breck has participated in a “bottling party” at one time or another. They love to tell you how supply can’t keep up with demand. And they really love to let you sample their wares.

The tour of the facility is interesting and enlightening but, let’s face it, getting to try the products is definitely the main attraction. Because as much fun as alcohol is to learn about, it’s even more fun to drink. The tour ended at a table near the front room where we tasted everything from spiced rum to bitters to vodka. And of course the famous Breck Bourbon.

Once they get you good and liquored up (it doesn’t take much at 10,000 feet), you are released into the shop where you can buy bottles of your own to take home, along with shirts, tumblers, flasks, and anything else you can imagine. I don’t think anyone left empty handed.

If you go: Tours are free and run every half hour. The distillery also has a tasting room on Main Street in Breck

Not just for show! This is the actual cash register.