While Colorado has long been known as a craft beer hub, over the past several years, it’s become fertile ground for small-batch distilleries, too. “Colorado has jumped from something like 30 distilleries to more than 50,” says Chuck Sullivan. Sullivan launched Dstill four years ago with two of Colorado’s earliest champions of craft distilling, Rob Masters, founder of Rob’s Mountain Gin and former president of the Colorado Distillers Guild, and Moose Koons of Peach Street Distillers and Rocky Mountain Soda Co..
The spirits-centered festival, which takes place September 21 through 24, is an overall showcase and celebration of those American craft spirits. And nowhere else will you find quite the breadth of talent (and, um, booze) than at this multifaceted event, which is now in its fourth year. Whether you’ve attended in the past or are new to DStill, here are five things to know about this year’s event.
1. It’s Not Just About Booze
While there will be no shortage of craft spirits for sipping, Dstill also brings more to the table. Last year a concert was added to the lineup because, as Sullivan says, “distillers are music lovers.” This year’s September 21 show at the Bluebird Theater features the British indie rock band the Heavy. Tickets are going fast; snag yours here.
2. You’ll Find Tipples From Both Near and Far
Colorado-based distilleries from across the state will certainly be well represented at Dstill, from established names like Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, Leopold Bros., and Montanya Distillers to more under-the-radar players like Distillery 291, Deerhammer Distilling Company, and Vapor Distillery. But Dstill is by no means a Colorado-exclusive event. Top distillers from out of the state, such as Barrow’s Intense Distilling (New York) Smooth Ambler Spirits (West Virginia), and High West Distillery (Utah), will all be present, too.
3. Dstill Has a New Home
In the past, Dstill’s grand showcase has been held at the McNichols Building. But this year, for the first time, it’s taking place at the History Colorado Center. Sullivan chose the museum because he thought it was a better venue for playing up the event’s educational nature. “We really want people to learn about the product,” says Sullivan In addition, a few of the exhibits will be open for attendees to peruse.
4. You Can Sip Spirits Straight or in Cocktails
Whether you’re a fan of trying your tipples neat or in the form of a cool cocktail, you’ll find what you crave. Mingling with the 30-plus distillers as you savor their creations straight is central to the Dstill experience. But when you’re ready for a cocktail, the Colorado Bartender’s Guild will be on-site mixing up drinks using the distilleries’ best.
5. There’s No Better Way to Experience Craft Spirits
While craft beer festivals are commonplace in Denver, you won’t find another event that celebrates American distillers quite like Dstill. The opportunities for “interactions between consumers and industry folks are really special,” says Sullivan. You’re sure to emerge from the event a more educated sipper.
Dstill’s showcase event takes place on Friday, September 23, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the History Colorado Center (1200 Broadway).
Tickets for the showcase are $50 and can be purchased here.