The Block Distilling Co. may have just turned three in December 2020, but the young brand has already garnered a passionate fan base, thanks to its artfully bottled craft gins, vodka, and whiskey. Now, those fans have a chance to help the Block expand its operations—and own a piece of the brand.
The Block just took over the entire 10,000-square-foot Block Building in RiNo, and owners Kraig, Michelle, and Kameron Weaver plan to grow their spirits production six-fold. The team already brought in all the distilling equipment they’ll need, including a mash tun, fermenters, and stills purchased from a South Carolina distillery. But to get it all up and running in the new space, they need investments. The Weavers took to equity crowdfunding site Wefunder to raise $650,000 to pay for the expansion; in exchange for their money, investors get equity in the company. You don’t need to be a trust funder to buy in, either: Investments start at $500, and participants will receive profits in return, albeit very small ones, based on the amount they contribute.
“The cool part is it allows all the people who’ve helped us get to this point in general, our customers and private bottle club owners, to own a piece of the Block,” Kraig says. “Anyone who invests is part of the growth of the company, which is really fun. It makes it so the consumer isn’t just excited to taste the spirit, but they can have a piece of the success of the distillery.”
The Block Distilling Co. already expanded once, to the south on Larimer Street. This latest growth takes over the space toward the alley on the east. The spot, formerly a BMW garage, will be used for bottling and packaging the Block’s spirits, as well as for grain storage. And at six times the current production levels, the company will be able to get bottles into more accounts across the state.
“It’s not a small task by any means—distilling equipment is not plug and play. You have to do a lot of electrical and water lines and steam lines to get everything running. But the upfront work is complete because we have the equipment here. We’re fully ready to go, we’re just doing that last fundraising to get it moving,” Kraig says.
That fundraising will also go toward adding a 40-person rooftop deck, although Kraig says that may not happen until summer 2022. It could result in new spirits, too, but the initial focus will be on growing the current lineup. The Wefunder campaign has already raised $327,000, which means the Block is halfway toward their goal of injecting the market with a whole lot more gins, vodkas, and whiskeys.
“We’re so grateful for all the support,” Kraig says. “We know that the Block wouldn’t be here without Denver, without RiNo, without Five Points. Our customers are amazing. We get to make spirits and make drinks that people can come and enjoy every day, and it’s really rewarding. To now offer equity in the business as well, it’s been a really fun process.”
That’s not all: In honor of International Women’s Day, the Block is hosting Get It Girl, an outdoor, festival-style celebration on Larimer Street between 29th and 30th streets on March 6. Stop in between 1 and 5 p.m. to browse items from six different female-owned or led retailers: Awakening Boutique, Strawberry Mountain, Plant Shawty, Circle Pies, Chrysalis Conway, and Art of Left Field. During the event, attendees are encouraged to visit the Block, Ratio Beerworks, and Odell Rino Brewhouse for some adult beverages. The distillery will feature its Marigold Sour cocktail, with a portion of sales benefiting philanthropic partner the Marigold Project, a foundation that supports organizations dedicated to issues of racial, social, and economic justice.