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Eat and Drink

The Block Distilling Co. Expands, Releases Its First Whiskey

The burgeoning RiNo spirit maker just released a two-year-aged, straight four-grain whiskey.

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Some of the most gorgeous spirit bottles in Denver come from RiNo’s two-year-old the Block Distilling Co. (The booze inside is beautiful, too.) Come early 2021, there will be a whole lot more of those cool bottles—which feature clean, modern graphics on a, well, block-shaped bottle—as Block just took over the vacant office space next door to its tasting room/production facility, increasing the brand’s potential output six-fold and doubling its square footage.

“We’ve been running out of products,” co-owner Kraig Weaver says. “We want to get the brand further out so more people can try it.”

With that extra 2,300 square feet of distilling space, Block has room for more stills to join Eleanor, the team’s nickname for the workhorse still that currently produces all of the company’s spirits. When Kraig, along with co-owner brother Kameron Weaver and wife Michelle Weaver heard that the Charleston Distilling Co. was expanding and selling its high-quality equipment, the trio headed down to South Carolina to get it.

The trio spent five days manually disassembling two German stills, fermenters, and a mash tun, before loading it all up onto three semi-trucks for the drive to Denver. Putting the brothers’ engineering backgrounds to good use, they rebuilt the full distillery in their new space. “The goal was to learn about [the distilling equipment] as we took it apart so we could learn to work on it ourselves,” Kraig says.

Presently, Eleanor can fill about 400 of Block’s super-cool bottles each week; with the new stills (Walter and Lucinda) and space, that number will jump to 2,500 bottles a week. Kraig says the increased production will center around what the distillery has already been doing so well—vodka and gins—but all three owners are brandy fans, so we might see a Block version of that brown sipper down the line.

Walter and Lucinda will rest until early 2021, when the design and permitting process for Block’s new space is complete. In the meantime, we’ll happily settle for Block’s first-ever whiskey, which it released on December 15. The straight four-grain whiskey has been aging for two years—since before the distillery opened to the public—and only 700 bottles were made; fewer than 100 bottles are available today, although there’s plenty for sipping at Block’s tasting room. Crafted from a mash bill of oats, wheat, rye, and barley, it’s a unique blend about which acclaimed whiskey consultant (also the former head distiller for Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey and founding head distiller for Laws Whiskey House) Jake “Whiskey” Norris says:

“It isn’t a bourbon, it isn’t a rye, it isn’t anything you have had before. This whiskey is somehow light and big at the same time. Spicy and sweet, fruit and cream. These guys took the risk to lay this whiskey down 2 years ago and give it time to mature and become a complex and beautiful spirit.  Looks like the risk was worth it. ”

And yes, it comes in a cool square bottle, too.

2990 Larimer St., 303-484-9033

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