Dry Land Distillers is a celebration of the people, places, and land of Colorado and the American West. Both of us (Nels and Aaron) grew up in the West, and we understand that the place we call home is a huge part of who we are.
Aaron and I are both long-time brewers (Aaron significantly better than me, being a gold-medal winner for his home recipes, but still…). Over the years, we’ve thought about opening a brewery that would be an authentic representation of Colorado. Day jobs, families, and day-to-day life meant the brewery didn’t get off the ground, but the idea never really left.
Several years ago, I was lucky enough to work on a yearlong magazine project to interview and profile new craft distilleries in Colorado and Wyoming. It was a delightful experience, and the people I met and the creativity and perseverance shown by these early entrepreneurs was inspiring. Aaron and I started tossing around the idea of our own distillery. This time the idea stuck.
We began experimenting with different native and local ingredients such as prickly pear cactus, spruce trees, and a dry land, heirloom wheat to see if we could at least get a decent beer from the ingredients. We quickly realized there was huge potential in these ingredients – but they were also a huge challenge to work with. We stuck with it – and the results were incredible!
We enlisted the help of good friends of ours at Still Cellars in Longmont (Jason and Sadye) to help us convert our recipes into distilled spirits in a few test runs. We shared the results with friends and strangers to rave reviews – and Dry Land Distillers was born.
Today, we’re opening a craft distillery in the heart of downtown Longmont. Our spirits are influenced and inspired by Colorado’s lands and the American West’s iconic places. Our first production will include a dry land heirloom wheat whiskey, two unique prickly pear spirits, and a dry land spruce gin created with all Colorado native botanicals.
Our journey to create these spirits is not easy – the ingredients are finicky, prickly, hard-to-find, expensive, and at times extremely frustrating. But the results are spectacular. The spirits are an authentic representation of the land and the environments that created them – complex, rich, sweet, and earthy.
I hope you’ll join us in discovering the spirit of the land.
All the best,