In April, the
American Distilling Institute—a trade organization for the craft spirits industry—named Denver’s beloved Leopold Bros. as the 2014 Distillery of the Year. This family-owned-and-operated business boasts a distillery, tasting room, and barrel storage area inside its new space in Northeast Denver. Take a virtual tour by clicking through the photos above, and then check it out for yourself. Make a reservation in advance here and enjoy a glimpse of the Leopold’s seamless operations, plus a taste of its meticulously crafted, award-winning spirits. ( Learn how to make Leopold Bros.’s classic old-fashioned)
Leopold Bros. was awarded the 2014 Distillery of the Year award by the American Distilling Institute at the annual Spirits Conference in Louisville, Kentucky in April.
The tasting room and distillery, located in Northeastern Denver, are housed in the same building. A barrel storage unit, separate from the main building, is also part of the distillery. A pathway through a garden leads visitors to the main entryway. Be on the lookout for frog and squirrel statues tucked away in the garden: the frog is a reference to Todd, the co-owner, and the squirrel is his sister Amy—based on high school nicknames.
Leopold Bros. was designed by Ware Malcomb, an award-winning international firm. The designers incorporated environmental sustainability into the overall design, using refurbished wood, light fixtures and other design elements in the tasting room (pictured).
The distillery includes a traditional malting room: Colorado-grown barley is malted on-site and used in the spirits. Leopold Bros. is the only distillery in Colorado that malts its own barley.
A display case—on wheels—sits in the tasting room. Various awards are on display, mixed in with dishes full of different natural ingredients used in the 22 different spirits Leopold Bros. creates.
The community table in the tasting room was crafted using reclaimed wood from old rail cars. The bar and floor are fashioned from floorboards used in an Ohio sawmill. The light fixtures were salvaged from a ship in South Carolina.
This is the vodka still. After the fermentation step, the mash mixture is added to a still (not pictured) where the alcohol vapor is collected. The alcohol vapor is then transferred to this still, where it is boiled, passed through a series of perforated plates and into a condenser. From the condenser, the vapor turns into a liquid and pours out of a spout connected to the still. The liquid created is the Silver Tree American Small Batch Vodka.
In the barrel storage area, whiskey ages for about two years. Leopold Bros. American Small Batch Whiskey and Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey (pictured) are aged in new, 53-gallon white oak American barrels that are charred on the inside. Keep a look out for Todd’s special whiskey barrel that he’s aging for his daughter’s 21st birthday—she was born in 2014—and the family of bunnies that call the storage area home.
During the fermentation step in the distilling process, the mash and yeast (which have just been introduced and combined) are transferred into open wooden fermentation tanks. They will sit and ferment for a few days.