Spirit Hound Distillers 4196 Ute Hwy Lyons, CO 80540
I met Craig Engelhorn, of Spirit Hound Distillery at the Estes Whiskey Warm Up Event. Craig is a transplant from the State of Nebraska. He worked for AT&T for a number of years and when the business restructured, he packaged out with a number of employees. A new beginning for him, landed in Lyons, Colorado. He started his new journey working for Oskar Blues as a brewer with no experience. He assisted with the recipe for Dale’s Pale Ale, when asked why not name it Craig’s Pale Ale, he said it didn’t rhyme. Dale’s sounded better. Four years later, Craig decided he wanted to do something different so he got together with four partners and created Spirit Hound Distillery in 2012. At the time of application Spirit Hound became the 32nd distillery in the State of Colorado. Now, through some distilleries closing shop, they are labeled as the 27th distillery in the State. Spirit hound has a nice line up of spirits. As you all know I am more of a whiskey girl, but I do like to let people know what other spirits are created by the distillers, they are: gin, vodka, rum, moonshine, Sambuca and Richardo’s Coffee Liqueur (which is delicious!) and believe it or not their moonshine is very flavorful with a nice smooth finish and fruit forward taste. The distillery currently brews once a week and fills about 7 whisky barrels a month. What is great about their whisky is that it is barrel specific bottling. Craig likes a hearty scotch flavor that shows more of a peat, smoky flavor profile. When we visited the distillery last week they were currently serving tastings for their single malt whiskeys (barrels 25, 26, 27 and 28). Barrel 28 is definitely worth finding if you are a scotch fan. Spirit Hound is a smaller distillery but don’t let their size fool you. They have 110 barrels currently in their rack house and are looking for ways to expand their storage space. They have a great outdoor area for summertime events and their staff will definitely keep you on your toes. Tell Alexis we said Hi! A Story within a Story (Definitely Worth Sharing) Most people from Colorado remember the flood in 2013, and at that time the distillery was a little over a year old. The floods affected a number of cities across the front range, causing destruction to people’s lives, their homes, businesses and cars. Spirit Hound was not left out in the path of destruction. The distillery backs up to the St. Vrain River that flooded over. The flooding caused about 2 feet of rushing waters, mud and silt to find its way into the distillery, one can still see the line on the barrels where the mud left its mark. The Town of Lyons was devastated. There were check points where they would not allow people to pass, because the roads were under water. The town was cut off from receiving assistance until the rain stopped. When asked if Craig’s home was affected from the flooding he said no. He stated that he felt guilty that his place was not damaged, but friends of his lost their business, their home and vehicles and had nothing. The volunteer fire station #2 was completely destroyed from the flooding. Driving through the winding roads today, you can still see homes that were abandoned from the destruction. A few days after the water subsided, Craig and his business partners had assessed the damages to their distillery. They noticed that the rushing water had moved around a keg barrel of rum, which is now known as flood rum. They tested the rum and found that it was saved through all the water damage and bouncing around through the distillery. Spirit Hound wanted to help Lyons get back on its feet, so Craig and his partners came up with the idea to put some money in the path of restoring the fire station. The partners agreed that in order to give back to the community and to help those who help others, they would auction off the first 24 bottles of rum, from this flood rum barrel. Fire fighters came in to sign the labels. Bottles were being auctioned off from $50 to $1000 a piece. They were receiving calls from all over the country from people that wanted to help the Town of Lyons. For the remainder of the bottles (past the 24 that were auctioned), they were sold for $50 a piece. $20 of every bottle that was sold went to help rebuild the fire station. Some bottles were going for more than that because people wanted to pay more to help the cause. A donation of over $10,000 was donated to the fire department to help rebuild station 2. Craig mentioned that the amount of giving they assisted with was overwhelming. He could not believe all the calls that were coming in from people all over. The amount of support that the country wanted to give the Town of Lyons was surprising and very heart warming. Two years after the devastation of the flooding the Fire Station was rebuilt out of the flood plain and is currently open to assist the town of Lyons.
So the next time you are strolling through the front range stop by and see the team at Spirit Hound, it is definitely worth the drive!