Today marks the start of DSTILL, a four-day celebration of American spirits that showcases small-batch distillers and their products. DSTILL, now in its third year, focuses on artisan spirit producers, bartenders and beverage industry leaders who are influencing today’s resurgent craft-cocktail culture. While the week will peak with Thursday’s spirits tasting at the McNichols Building, the next few days are packed with seminars, tastings, pop-up bars, educational programs and even a concert on Tuesday night at the Bluebird Theater. “That Denver’s Union Station, the McNichols Civic Center Building and the Bluebird Theater are the hubs of DSTILL programs and events this year is so appropriate,” says Chuck Sullivan, co-founder of the event. “The City of Denver and State of Colorado are the perfect hosts for this celebration of the American craft spirit.”
Here’s a look at what's on tap for DSTILL:
Tuesday, April 14
The festivities kick off with Women of Distilling, Cocktails & Culinary, a free discussion from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Rino Yacht Club at the source. Panelists include Renee Newton from Montanya Distillers, Rayme Rossello from Comida, Elizabeth Serage from Peach Street Distillers, Shae Whitney from DRAM Apothecary and Mary Allison Wright from the Colorado Bartenders Guild.
Then at 8 p.m., DSTILL ROCKS takes over the The Bluebird Theater. Denver’s Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats will perform a Motown-influenced set, complete with a horn section. Paper Bird, another Denver-based band, will open the concert. While this show is part of the DSTILL itinerary, a limited number of tickets have been released to the public. The Bluebird will be serving specialty cocktails during the performance made with spirits from Deerhammer Distilling Co, Montanya Distillers, Peach Street Distillers and Tito’s Vodka. Tickets are $20, and may be purchased on the DSTILL events website.
Wednesday, April 15
American Whiskey 201 will run from 7:30 to 10 p.m. at Ste. Ellie, 1553 Platte Street. The educational workshop features small-batch whiskey makers, including Jake Norris from A.D. Laws Whiskey, Todd Leopold from Leopold Brothers, Davy Lindig from Peach Street Distillers, Paul Hlteko from Few Spirits and Len Eckstein from Deerhammer Spirits. The event includes whiskey samples and refreshments; tickets are $65.
Thursday, April 16
The Showcase is DSTILL’s main event, and it’s happening from 7 to 10 p.m. at the McNichols Building in Civic Center Park. This event brings together 49 craft spirit producers from across the country (28 are from Colorado) for a comprehensive, large-scale tasting event. A wide variety of spirits from America’s top artisan distillers will be available to sample, many of them poured by the distillers themselves. At bars throughout the building, bartenders from the Colorado Bartenders’ Guild will serve cocktails made with local and national spirits. Pair a cocktail with free food samples from Salt & Grinder, Old Major, Williams & Graham, Luca D’Italia, Colt & Gray, Osteria Marco, Stoic & Genuine, Work & Class, Glazed and Confuzed Doughnuts, and Dead Dog Chocolate. Tickets for The Showcase are $50.
Friday, April 17
A pop-up bar in Union Station will feature even more cocktails with craft spirits. Several invite-only pop-ups will take place throughout the week; although they're not open to the public, invitations can be requested by emailing DSTILL.
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