Peach Street Distillers
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Peach Street Distillers is a privately owned, self-proclaimed “artisanal,” professional brewery and distillery in Palisade, Colorado. Established in November 2005 by Rory Donovan with Bill Graham and David Thibodeau, co-founders of Ska Brewing Company in Durango, Colorado, Peach Street was established in Palisade to utilize the area’s favorable growing conditions for various types of fruits.
The company is best known for their Goat Vodka and Jackelope Gin, and a tasting room that holds regular bar hours, staying open until 12 a.m. on weekends.
Three good friends- Rory, Bill and Dave- began the company with years of professional brewing and distilling experience between them. They chose Palisade, located at 4,700 feet elevation with its cool nights during the growing season, yet desert conditions and intense sunlight, for their liquor-making hub. Such a setting allows the fruit they grow to ripen with a high concentration of sugars. The distillery uses a custom-made German copper pot to create their vodka, the Goat, with sweet corn from Olathe, Colorado, a neighboring town.
Head distiller Davy Lindig makes bourbon from Olathe sweet corn, fruit brandies from area pears, plums and peaches; and grappas in partnership with Debeque Canyon Winery, from Gewürztraminer and Viognier grapes.
Camaraderie in the industry is intended to boost sales and in the hope of making Colorado the epicenter of microdistilleries. Some companies have shared sales staff in the past, and Thibodeau expressed hope that such enterprises will experience the same success as the craft brewing industry; of collaborative success, he said, “the same rising tide floats all boats.”
Palisade, a town of just 2,500 people, produces a variety of fruits including cherries, apricots, pears and grapes. Hence, it is fitting that each September, the region hosts Colorado’s Mountain Winefest, in which wine makers from around the state pour their newest blends and brews for thousands of attendees.
Microdistillery trends across Colorado
The proliferation of microdistilleries such as Peach Street Distillers is part of a growing trend across Colorado. Companies such as Leopold Bros., Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, and Roundhouse Liquors have gained notoriety by filling a niche market for locally owned and operated liquor, a byproduct of Colorado’s brewery and microbrewery culture, as well as its locavore tendencies. The state is now home to 13 craft distilleries.
Craft distilleries often require considerable initial investments, both with regard to aging time and financial difficulties presented by competition with larger liquor brands. However, with the creation of the Colorado Distiller’s Guild, small licensed distilling companies now have an outlet to promote their interests. Relations are amicable between local brands; for instance, Stranahan’s and Peach Street order their barrels together.
American Distilling Institute: Peach Street Distillers dominated the Varietal Grappa category, winning Gold for their Gerwurtz-traminer grappa and a Bronze for their Muscat. The company also took a Silver medal in both the Peach and Pear Eau de Vie categories, as well as for their peach brandy.
Jackelope Gin: named for the mythical southwestern animal, this gin is crafted in small batches from hand-picked, Colorado-grown juniper berries, among herbs and other local ingredients.
Goat Artisan Vodka: triple-distilled premium vodka.
Peach Goat Vodka: Palisade has a prime climate for peach cultivation, which are integral to this particular flavor of vodka.
Jack and Jenny Peach Brandy: Brandy made with local peaches.
Jack and Jenny Pear Brandy: Brandy made with local pears.
Jack and Jenny Plum Brandy: Brandy made with local plums.
Grappa of Gewürztraminer: Grappa made with pomace from Debeque Canyon Winery.
Grappa of Viognier: Grappa made with pomace from Debeque Canyon Winery.
Colorado Straight Bourbon: Colorado’s first legal bourbon, aged in barrels for over two years. First released in a limited batch of 200 in September 2008 and a wide release in the spring of 2009, this spirit qualifies as bourbon, despite not having been produced in Kentucky. Available in a hand-numbered 720 ml bottle, the bourbon is 92 proof, 46% alcohol by volume.