Bar Talk: Distilling Sustainability with Marble Distilling Co.
Marble Distilling Co. and its founders are looking toward a more impactful and sustainable future this spring.
The Carbondale-based distillery is currently undergoing an update, with new equipment being installed and the tasting room getting a refresh. The brand’s Aspen outpost is also closed for the offseason.
But co-owner, CEO and head distiller Connie Baker isn’t taking this downtime in production to relax. She’s putting plans into action for Marble’s future and the future of the planet, working with other brands to lessen the impact the liquor industry has on the environment.
Baker was recently named to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) Environmental Sustainability Committee, making Marble Distilling Co. the first and only craft distillery on the committee – Marble is a small producer that will make around 10,000 cases this year. Other companies on the committee are large-scale, billion-dollar brands such as Beam Suntory, Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Proximo and more.
“We were invited to speak in Austin on a sustainability panel for DISCUS at their annual meeting. It was a little funny, I’m sitting next to the corporate sustainability vice president for Beam Suntory and they get up and talk about what they’re going to do (regarding sustainability efforts) in 2040 and I get up and talk about what (Marble Distillery) has been doing since 2014,” Baker said.
“So it just felt really good as a little guy you know, a craft distiller, to be up against these multi-billion dollar conglomerates and say, ‘Hey, we’re kind of doing it from the grassroots and doing it correctly. And maybe you should reconsider your long-term plans and look at something you could implement a little sooner.’”
After that sustainability panel in Austin, Baker and Marble Distillery were invited to be a part of the official committee. She has since formed a sustainability subcommittee with Carrie Shanks, the co-founder of Marble, head of sales and her husband, specifically for craft distilleries.
Since its founding, Marble Distillery Co. has been a pioneer of sustainability in the liquor industry and in the Roaring Fork Valley.
“Marble is sustainable across every platform, from the Inn to the tasting room to the barrel club to the distillery. Nothing in our organization happens without the word ‘sustainability’ being mentioned,” Baker said.
The small company has also been an “open book,” according to Baker when it comes to sharing methods of sustainable distilling practices with others, and hopes that through this they can encourage more brands to make small changes that will have big impacts.
“Every distillery that calls us, we welcome them to come and tour our facility, talk to them about our initiatives, are willing to share our building, our plans, our engineers list … Everything we do we share it,” Baker said.
“It’s a win win for everybody, the planet, the distilleries, the consumer to drink sustainably.”
The new equipment being installed at the craft distillery, such as the vodka column, condenser on the still and fermenters, will allow Marble to continue toward their goal of being net-zero electricity by 2022 (the company is currently 65% of the way there) while also increasing production.
As far as the Carbondale tasting room renovations go, Baker said they are going for a “new, completely different look” and planning for a reopening party in Carbondale hopefully by Memorial Day weekend. Marble Bar Aspen, located in the Aspen Mountain Residences (formally the Hyatt Residence Club Grand Aspen), will reopen just after the Food & Wine Classic and include a partnership with NYC restaurant Taikun Sushi.
In the meantime, if you’re looking to get your Marble Distillery Co. fix, Baker has kindly shared one of her favorite spring cocktail recipes with us – it has a touch of sweetness, is creamy and caffeinated – that features two of Marble’s fantastic spirits, which can be found in liquor stores across the Roaring Fork Valley.
Marble’s Colorado Bulldog
1 oz Moonlight Expresso
1 oz Marble Vodka (or Vanilla infused Marble Vodka – soak vanilla beans in Marble Vodka for one week)
1 oz Cream
.5 oz Grenadine
1 drop Saline (1 to 10 parts salt to water, keep in a dropper on your bar for other cocktails)
Splash of Cola
Method: Put 3 ice cubes in a shaker with all ingredients other than Cola and cherries. Shake for 15 seconds – will have a frothy head. Strain into a tall Collins glass over ice and top with a splash of Cola. Garnish with skewered Luxardo cherries.
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In this week’s Stuck in the Rockies, columnist Ted Mahon takes a spring ski trip to the Southern Sawatch Range and offers a primer on Colorado’s high peaks.