Earlier this spring, at the inaugural DSTILL event, wherein hundreds upon hundreds of booze hounds gathered at the McNichols Building to sample craft spirits and cocktails, there were plenty of people comparing the jubilee to the Great American Beer Festival, which as we all know by know, sold out just minutes after tickets went on sale.
And given the city's infatuation with hooch, it's a good bet that next year's DStill celebration, slated for March 10-16, will sell out, too.
The liquid assets rally, a collaboration that includes DSTILL, the American Craft Distiller's Association (ACDA) and the country's first Distiller's Convention and Trade Show, which will also take place in Denver, highlights numerous spirit tastings, craft cocktail events and other public programs during the week-long homage to libations. "We've worked actively with ACDA and the City of Denver to bring together DSTILL and the Craft Distillers Convention, and with this pairing, we've established an incredible platform for both consumers and trade professionals to experience the outstanding work being done by American craft spirit producers and our amazingly talented bartender colleagues," says Rob Masters, president of the Colorado Distillers Guild and head distiller of Spring 44, a Loveland-based company that produces small-batch whiskey, gin and vodka.
"There's a real connection between what you're seeing in the American craft spirits category and the work being done by barmen and woman who are elevating today's resurgent cocktail culture through their talents, creativity and attention to the history of their craft," echoes Sean Kenyon, who co-owns Williams & Graham -- and does time behind the speakeasy's bar.
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The week's festivities are still being solidified, but one of the signature events -- the Showcase -- will be held on Thursday, March 13, at the McNichols Building, where dozens of artisan distillers from Colorado and elsewhere will splay their spirits, giving guests the opportunity to sample everything from single barrel straight bourbon to fruit-intensive brandies -- and, if next year is anything like this year, stumble out with inebriated grins.
The two-day Craft Distillers Convention and Conference, which unfolds at the Denver Marriott, kicks off on Friday, March 14 and trumpets keynote speakers and trade workshops, as well as master classes on marketing and advance-distilling techniques. "The conference is an important benchmark for the craft-spirit industry," says Rory Donovan, interim president of ACDA and founder of Peach Street Distillers, located in Palisade. "It makes sense for a number of reasons for us to hold our first conference in Denver, a primary one being the opportunity to partner with DSTILL," he adds, noting that the distillers who participated in DSTILL in April "know it to be an outstanding platform for showcasing our craft and introducing domestically produced artisan spirits to the public."
Stay tuned for ticket information (they should go on sale to the public in November) and a roundup of events. In the meantime, here's a DSTILL video with soundbites from Masters, Todd Leopold, Tom Potter and other bold-name distillers who have a passionate thirst for their art.