A year after he started running the bar at Boulder's Salt, Evan Faber sat down with the restaurant's owner, Bradford Heap, and divulged a dream. "I told him, 'One thing I would like to do is open a distillery,'" Faber says.
To his surprise, Heap, who also owns Bradford Heap Catering and Colterra in Niwot, was more than willing to indulge Faber's fantasy: "I didn't expect him to say, 'Oh, you want to go to the moon? You should build a spaceship.' But that's what he did. He's helping me make the dream come true."
The pair began drawing up plans for a distillery where they'll make whiskey, gin and vodka for now, and maybe cordials and liqueurs in the future. "We're focusing on just a few things to start," Faber explains. He also told The Hooch Life, a drinks blog that is following the progress of the duo's plans, that the first step of whiskey production would be spirit whiskey, which lies "somewhere between a whiskey and a vodka. It's vodka with an attitude."
All spirits made by the distillery will focus on local ingredients. "Bradford and I want to make a beautiful, elegant whiskey that represents Colorado," Faber explains.
He also dreams of an American spirits terroir, and an organization that encourages distillers to integrate a sense of place. Outside of his distillery, he's working to make that happen on Americanspiritregions.org, a website that he hopes will bring together bartenders and distillers to encourage micro-distillers to highlight and enhance origin in their products.
Faber has been struck by the amount of help that other distillers in the area have offered as the pair ramps up their plans. "They're so welcoming," he says. "They've offered us consulting and help and haven't charged us."
Faber emphasizes that the distillery is in the early stages. "We're still drawing up financial perspectives and getting investors," he explains. "It will take five to six months for the stills to be built. I'm pushing for June, but that's really aggressive."
No word yet on where the distillery will be located, though the pair plans to keep it in Boulder County.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.