2019 has been a good year for Golden Moon Distillery. The Golden-based crafter, known for its unique artisan spirits and liqueurs, was named Distillery of the Year by the American Distilling Institute in March. Rather than bask in the win, though, master distiller and co-founder Stephen Gould charged forward. Earlier this month, he unveiled the first phase of a $6 million renovation and expansion that grew distillery from 2,000 square feet to about 10,000.
It’s a substantial jump—one that Gould’s been planning since he became a full-time distiller 11 years ago.
Golden Moon’s new, 32-foot-tall grain silo (containing malted grains from Golden Malting) and two additional copper stills—one designed with Gould’s friend, the late master distiller Dave Pickerell, of Maker’s Mark and WhistlePig Whiskey fame—plus three to four more stills on the way, mean Golden Moon can increase its production from around 4,000 nine-liter cases of booze each year to nearly 100,000.
For boozehounds, that means more access to the distillery’s 19 wonderful spirits, a list that currently includes gin, applejack, Crème de Violette, Amer dit Picon, génépi, grappa, absinthe, and 100-proof bourbon whiskey.
Look for more whiskey to enter that lineup in the years to come; Gould wants to see the spirit account for 30 to 50 percent of the business. “Part of the [goal of the] expansion is to produce single malt,” Gould says. “We believe American single malt whiskey is the way of the future.”
Actually, Golden Moon’s entire menu is likely to grow, though Gould isn’t providing specifics just yet. We expect any new spirit additions will follow the same recipe Gould and his wife and business partner, Karen Knight, have relied on over the past decade: All of Golden Moon’s products are inspired by recipes and techniques used to make historical spirits, and many incorporate ingredients from local farms. For example, Gould is currently working with chef Alex Seidel (Fruition Restaurant, Mercantile Dining & Provision, and Fruition Farms) to harvest “key botanicals” for the Redux absinthe; Gould hopes to source even more from the local chef now that Golden Moon has the space. (Gould also aims to expand the distillery’s distribution to additional states and overseas.)
Gould says the drive to create boozy drinks is in his blood. He points to his grandpa’s history making gin and applejack in New Hampshire during Prohibition. Even his great aunt got into the game, smuggling whiskey into the country from Canada under a fake baby bump.
Clearly, Gould was meant to follow in the footsteps of his family’s booze-making acumen.
Sample the spirits in person at Golden Moon Speakeasy (1111 Miner’s Alley, Golden, 720-638-1155). Or, check out the expansion by booking a 90-minute tour and tasting at Golden Moon Distillery (412 Violet St., Golden, 303-993-7174). Tours are held most Wednesdays through Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (there’s an additional 3 p.m. slot on Fridays and Saturdays). The 21-and-up-only adventure costs $12 per person and includes a tasting pour of four spirits, plus $10 off the purchase of any bottle.