Woody Creek Distillers set to open Wednesday in Basalt

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
Scott Condon The Aspen Times

BASALT – Twelve months of construction, six months of distilling and several months of nurturing potatoes is finally paying off for the folks at Woody Creek Distillers.

The long-anticipated opening of the tasting room and retail operation is scheduled to occur Wednesday at its 10,000-square-foot distillery and headquarters. The tasting room will be open to the public from noon to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday to start, possibly longer as demands take shape. The distillery is located at 60 Sunset Lane in Basalt, near Valley Lumber.

Co-founder, partner and farmer Pat Scanlan has taken a hands-on approach to his new venture. He was helping bottle the last of what was 200 cases of signature vodka processed Sunday and Monday.

He said he’s looking forward to finally bringing in some bucks rather than spending them on the business, as has been the case over the past year.

“We haven’t sold a bottle yet, but Wednesday we will,” Scanlan said.

His partners are his wife, Mary, and Mark Kleckner. Mary Scanlan is the CEO and is focused on product development, retail operations, the tasting room and marketing. Kleckner is chief financial officer, chief operating officer and distiller. The vision for the distillery came from Pat Scanlan, a former Lockheed-Martin engineer who decided he prefers potatoes to military communications networks.

The team acknowledges it spent multiple millions of dollars to create what it claims will be the largest distillery in Colorado and “one of the top five most productive craft distilleries in the United States.”

The custom Christian Carl Still system was imported from Germany. It’s so efficient and the ingredients so pure, Woody Creek Distillers will only filter its vodka once. The sleek bottles for the vodka were crafted in Italy. The labels were printed in Canada. The potatoes were grown on the Scanlans’ Woody Creek ranch. The water is from Basalt’s springs.

The team aims to distribute 10,000 cases of spirits in 2013. Restaurants will be able to purchase the vodka this week. The distillery hopes to sign a contract with a national distributor this month.

Its offerings include the signature potato vodka and Reserve Stobrawa potato vodka, from a special variety of Polish potato grown at the Scanlans’ farm, as well as small-batch “baby” bourbon, gin, apple brandy and Pear Eau de Vie brandy.

Wednesday’s opening will feature the potato vodka, apple brandy and “baby” bourbon, so named because it was aged for four months.

Kleckner said he is thrilled that customers will finally learn what he and the Scanlans as well as distillery manager David Matthews have known for months – they have incomparable products.

“To be honest, we’re control freaks, and we think our quest for perfection shows in everything we do from seed to sip,” Kleckner said.


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