The Lyons-based distillery will release a unique, single barrel Straight Malt Whisky from the original barrel that started it all on the seventh anniversary of the 2013 Colorado floods.
August 25th, 2020 - Lyons, CO — In the beginning, it was the whisky that inspired four friends to open up Spirit Hound Distillers in the small Colorado mountain town of Lyons. A true, all-malt, 100-percent Colorado whisky from scratch that would age undisturbed in 53-gallon American oak barrels for at least two years, eventually becoming the cornerstone of the emerging distillery’s reputation.
However, Mother Nature had a different story in mind.
Only a year into the opening, the raging waters of the historic 2013 Colorado floods reached the main level of the distillery, threatening Spirit Hound’s six original whisky barrels and damaging the distillery’s hand-built-from-scratch stills.
“We can still see the mud on this barrel from the disastrous flood that nearly literally wiped us off the map,” said Craig Engelhorn, head distiller and co-owner of Spirit Hound. “Barrel #1 was brewed into a wash at Upslope Brewing Company before we even had the equipment to manage grain, and was the first barrel we distilled and aged right here in our Lyons facility.”
Though hardships inflicted on the distillery by the mighty floodwaters have healed along with the landscape of Lyons, Spirit Hound and the craft spirits industry are facing a new set of challenges brought on by COVID-19. In early March, with a mandated closure of the tasting room, and Coloradans hunkering down at home, Engelhorn and the Spirit Hound team shifted gears from welcoming the community into their inviting tasting room to crafting and packaging hand sanitizer to distribute to those in need.
“We’re proud to support our community, be it as part of volunteer efforts to muck out basements and raise $10,000 to support our local Lyons Fire Protection District after the flood, or pivot and crank out hand sanitizer during COVID,” said Engelhorn. “Our foremost thought when times get tough is to support our community, because without our community, as a business, we would never survive.”
But come hell or high water, Spirit Hound is here to stay, and ready to celebrate community, overcoming hardships, and an unparalleled passion for crafting up phenomenal whisky — against all odds. The distillery is set to release limited quantities of Straight Malt Whisky from the original Barrel #1 throughout a two-day celebration on the seventh anniversary of the 2013 flood.
Spirit Hound’s Straight Malt Whisky (93 rating, Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible) is double distilled on two hand-built-from-scratch stills designed by Engelhorn and constructed by Engelhorn and his partners. The all-malt recipe is made with Colorado-grown malted barley and a dash of peat-smoked malt barley, all grown and malted in small batches by the Colorado Malting Company in Alamosa, Colorado. Aged more than two years in new, fully charred American oak barrels before being bottled in an unblended “single-barrel” fashion, Spirit Hound’s Straight Malt Whisky features aromas of oak, toffee, caramel, turbinado sugar, light smoke, and a silky body.
“This is a rare whisky in so many ways,” said Engelhorn. “After aging for 7.5 years, we absolutely love where this barrel is going, but we don’t want to push the age to the point where all of that oak completely overwhelms the subtle and delicate malt notes for which Spirit Hound Straight Malt Whisky is known. Rather than allow this barrel to overstay its welcome, we’re releasing Barrel #1 at what we believe is its peak flavor moment.”
Barrel #1 will be available in limited quantities of 750 ml bottles complete with packaging as unique as the spirit. Each bottle is framed in custom-made beetle kill pine boxes designed by Troy Alexander. Using a CNC machine, each individual box features a wooden gear inside that opens like a clamshell from the bottom when the top is removed and the bottle is lifted. When the bottle is replaced, the box closes up and the lid can be put back on.
“Barrel #1 is rare; the very first barrel of whisky we ever made and one of the few whiskies ever in Colorado to be aged seven years and survive a flood,” said Engelhorn. “We wanted a box unlike any other as a match for the whisky it holds.”
Pick up a bottle or a taster of this legendary whisky on September 12th or 13th at Spirit Hound’s riverside distillery and tasting room at 4196 Ute Hwy, Lyons, CO.
Presale Bottle Curbside/Pickup Details
What: Spirit Hound Distillers Straight Malt Whisky Barrel #1 Release
Date: Saturday, September 12 & Sunday, September 13
Time: Noon to 8 p.m. both days
Limited number of 750 ml bottles available for pre-purchase and purchase onsite for $300 each.
Presale bottle online orders beginning on Monday, September 7 here. To-go cocktails, flights and other bottles can be pre-ordered as well.
Contactless presale curbside pick-up is available for in-vehicle drive-through from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, September 12 & Sunday, September 13.
Sit down service by reservation only, socially distanced inside of the tasting room or on Spirit Hound’s spacious outdoor patio. Reservations can be made here. The Arryved app is available for on-site sit down service patrons delivering a handsfree tab and checkout solution from the safety of your personal phone/device.
A limited number of 1 ounce pours will be available during sit down service for $25 each.
With a bottle purchase comes an option to purchase a 1 ounce to-go pour for $25. Everyone that purchases a bottle or 1 ounce to-go pour will be invited to an online tasting with head distiller, Craig Englehorn, at 8 p.m. on their scheduled pick-up day.
Food trucks will be serving up tasty menus on both days.
About Spirit Hound Distillers
Resonating from the gritty small town of Lyons, situated in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains of
Colorado, comes Spirit Hound Distillers and unique crafted spirits years in the making. Founded in 2012 by friends and business partners—Craig Engelhorn, Wayne Anderson, Matt Rooney and Neil Sullivan—Spirit Hound’s reputation originates in a hands-on approach to the craft of distilling. The Spirit Hound team takes traditional and classic recipes that come to life with local, hand-selected ingredients distilled through hand-built-from-scratch stills and distillation equipment in search of one-of-a-kind processes and flavors. Spirit Hound offerings include: an acclaimed Straight Malt Whisky (93 rating, Jump Murray’s Whisky Bible / Double Gold, 2018 “The Fifty Best” American Malt Whiskies), Honey Whisky (Double Gold, 2019 Breckenridge Spirits Festival), Spirit Hound Gin (Silver, 88 rating, 2015 Beverage Testing Institute), Mountain Bum Rum, Sambuca (Best Herbal Liqueur, American Distilling Institute) and an un-aged version of its whisky called White Dog Moonshine.
Currently, Spirit Hound products are available in Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Texas. The tasting room is located on the St. Vrain River at 4196 Ute Highway/US Route 36 Lyons, CO 80540 and hosts live music and events throughout the week, and is a popular destination for lovers of distilled spirits and handcrafted cocktails.
For additional details please visit www.spirithounds.com or call (303) 823-5696