In an area only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles, a small spring in the canyons outside of Fort Collins is helping fuel Colorado’s craft distilling boom. And no, we’re not talking about the big boys like Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey or Leopold Bros. Last month, Spring44 began producing its first bottles of premium vodka and gin out of a new distillery in Loveland, and it’s already expanded distribution to New York and New Jersey. Capable of churning out three million bottles a year (in comparison, vodka giant Absolut produces around 600,000 bottles per day), Spring44 is hoping to chip away at a $3 billion market that’s populated, primarily, by imports. Says founder and CEO Jeff Lindauer: “I want to recruit people to a new American vodka revolution.”

It began 40 years ago when Lindauer’s father bought some property surrounded by national forest. As a boy, Lindauer would hike to the nearby spring to drink the water. After a friend had a taste three years ago, he persuaded Lindauer to get a sample tested. The result: an overall superior rating. So Spring44 was born. Of the three current products—gin, vodka, and honey vodka—our favorite is the honey version; the smooth mouthfeel and not-too-sweet flavor makes it a perfect cocktail mixer.

Do it Yourself

Make master mixologist Sean Kenyon’s Divine 44—with Spring44 Honey Vodka—at home.

  • 2 ½ ounces Spring44 Honey Vodka
  • ½ ounce Grand Marnier
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Orange peel

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist orange peel over the cocktail. Garnish.

Wash Up

Denver-based LifeSoap Company, the brainchild of Colorado natives Aaron Madonna and Juwon Melvin, makes three-packs of organic soap bars—dubbed “Boxes of Joy”—with tantalizing scents: Love (sage, spearmint, and lemongrass), Peace (honey, shea butter, and oatmeal), and Sol (tangerine, lemon, orange peel, and lavender).

Perhaps the best part: Ninety percent of the company’s net profits help the nonprofit H20 For Life bring clean water to communities in South America, Africa, and Central America. For the gift that keeps on giving, sign up your friend—or Mom (thank us later)—to receive a new box each month for $20 per shipment. —Betsy Defnet