Taste the Spirits of Breck at Craft Spirits Festival

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There’s a new kind of gold in the hills around Breckenridge: Craft spirits and distilleries, micro operations churning out distinctive liquors to an appreciative and thirsty audience. In town alone Breckenridge Distillery holds court among a young and trendy demographic, folks who prefer to sip whiskey instead of guzzle cheap beer.

But the local distillery isn’t the only show in town. From October 4-6, Breckenridge hosts the Craft Spirits Festival, a celebration of fermentation, flavor, and more.

First: the festival. The event’s highlight is “Still on the Hill,” a grand tasting of handcrafted spirits that starts at 4 p.m. at the Riverwalk Center. Admission ($25 in advance, $30 at the door) gets a complimentary tasting glass, unlimited tasting, craft cocktails, snacks, and bluegrass music by the Honey Gitters.

In addition, the festival features the following: Breckenridge_Craft_Spirits_Festival-1024x460

  • Poker Run
  • Historic Saloon Walking Tour
  • Breckenridge Distillery Tours
  • Honey Gitters live show at the historic Gold Pan Saloon
  • Hangover Brunch and Brunch Drink Specials

This is good and well if you already know you like craft brewing. But what if you’re new to the trend? After all, how different could whiskey distilled above 8,000 feet with rocky mountain water be from that bottle of Jim Beam you passed around on closing day last season?

As it turns out, a lot.

Breckenridge Distillery has racked up awards since its inception, including Breckenridge Bourbon being named one of the top three bourbons in the world in the 2011 International Wine and Spirits Competition. More gold medals followed, and today Breckenridge Bourbon is synonymous with high-class, easy drinking.

The distillery’s vodka has earned its fair share of accolades, including the “Platinum Winner” at the 2012 SIP Awards at the International Spirits Competition.

The distillery attributes its success to “the careful mingling of casks at each bottling” and the “minerality of the Breckenridge snowmelt water.” Both add flavor and body to the distillery’s bourbon, vodka, and bitters.

Not to mention that the craftsmen at Breckenridge Distillery take their jobs seriously. CEO Bryan Nolt launched Breckenridge Distillery to bring to his hometown craft spirits on par with those he enjoyed on his travels to Scotland. This man loves his single malt, and he wanted to produce something exquisite for an appreciative audience.

He’s onto something. But don’t just take our word for it. Stop by the distillery’s tasting room at 137 Main Street to sample for yourself.

Or spirit yourself up to the high country the first weekend of October. After all, nothing counters the chill of the changing seasons as well as a nip from the bottle.

Looking for a place to stay near the festival? Check out our preferred properties in town to really experience Craft Spirits Festival.

—Rachel Walker