Courtesy of Boulder Spirits

Meet Alastair Brogan of Boulder Spirits

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Alastair Brogan grew up surrounded by distilleries in Scotland. So, when he moved to Colorado with his American wife and their two young sons in 2012, he knew exactly what he wanted to do for a living: Make whiskey.

 

“I always had a fascination for the process and the creation of such wonder tastes and flavors,” he says. “When my wife and I decided to move to the U.S., it gave me the opportunity to indulge my passion.”

 

He partnered with an existing Boulder gin distillery, brought a copper pot still and began perfecting his craft—and he’s been hard at work ever since, producing the very best American single malt he can. (His business partner has since retired and, while the distillery does still sell gin and other spirits, his main focus is on whiskey.)

 

Today, Brogan is still at the helm of Boulder Spirits by Vapor Distillery—and I chatted with him to learn more about the growing craft spirits industry in Colorado and beyond.

 

(Thirsty? You can try Boulder Spirits’ whiskies for yourself at the distillery, which is located at 5311 Western Avenue, Suite 180 in Boulder. And keep an eye out for a new tasting room that’s set to open on Pearl Street later this year.)

 

Courtesy of Boulder Spirits

Why Boulder? What is it about this community?

 

As a Scotsman who lived in a rainy and damp climate for 45 years and visited Colorado many times, Colorado seemed to be the obvious choice. We initially picked Boulder as a place to live because of the weather and access to the mountains for skiing and hiking, but the unintended consequence was that Boulder is a phenomenal location to create a unique whiskey. Local water from Eldorado Springs and the unique impact the climate has on maturing barrels gives whiskey made in Boulder an added advantage and unique flavor.

What else sets Boulder Spirits apart? Why are your products so special?

 

There are only four ingredients to whiskey: grain, water, yeast and the wood barrel in which the whiskey ages. Each of these ingredients has a unique and considerable impact on our whiskeys, and each is unique to our range of whiskeys. The grain is selected from the best farmers in Europe and Colorado, the water is locally sourced from Eldorado Springs artesian water, the yeast is curated for its flavors and the barrels are supplied from a boutique cooperage in Kentucky.

 

In addition to the four ingredients, there are two major influencers that impact the uniqueness of Boulder Spirits whiskey: the climate and the still. The Boulder climate has huge barometric pressure changes, and this creates an environment where the newly distilled spirit is forced in and out of the char filter of the barrel at an accelerated rate. The pot still at Boulder Spirits was designed and built by the famed coppersmiths of Forsyths in Scotland, the same company that builds stills for most of the Scotch whisky industry. Each still is designed to give a unique flavor profile, and Boulder Spirits’ still was designed specifically for the Boulder climate.

Zooming out, what’s going on in the broader landscape of craft spirits right now? How does Boulder Spirits fit into that?

 

Craft spirits in the U.S. are still growing as consumers seek out interesting and unique tastes and flavors. New and younger whiskey drinkers seem to be more discerning, choosing to spend their money on quality rather than quantity. For Boulder, it’s about introducing our whiskeys through sampling and the telling of our story.

 

Boulder Spirits is now sold in 25 states and 10 countries. One of my proudest achievements is selling our bourbon in Kentucky and our American single malt in Scotland.

 

Courtesy of Boulder Spirits

What does the future look like for Boulder Spirits?

 

I want to introduce my whiskey to as many people as I can, tell our story and, hopefully, add to their understanding and knowledge of what whiskey is and can be. Yes, we are building a brand, but that brand must be backed up by quality and value for money. There is a whiskey for every palate and hopefully one of our whiskeys becomes the favorite for more and more people.

What else do you want more people to know?

 

Like almost all small whiskey distilleries, the best way to encourage people to choose our whiskey is for them to sample it by purchasing a bottle or sampling it at the distillery. At our distillery in Boulder, we offer whiskey flights, educational tours, and free samples, and will be opening a tasting room on Pearl Street at the end of this year.

 

Everyone who works at Boulder Spirits loves to talk whiskey. Come in and see us Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and let us introduce you to our whiskeys for free.

 

 

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