Meet Our Stop | Dry Land Distillers
Do you love delicious craft cocktails that are made with the freshest ingredients?? Then you HAVE to check out Dry Land Distillers! We were able to ask their crew some questions to learn how they got started and better understand what they’re all about. Read on to learn about this Longmont gem!
Tell us Dry Land Distillers’ history and how it all started:
Dry Land Distillers is a celebration of the people, places, and land of Colorado and the American West. Our team grew up in the West, and we understand that the place we call home is a huge part of who we are.
The three of us owners – Marc Staats, Aaron Main, and Nels Wroe – all bring different backgrounds and shared experiences to Dry Land. Aaron and I are both long-time brewers (Aaron significantly better than me, being a gold-medal winner for his home recipes, but still…). (Marc – well, he is our go-to taste tester!) Over the years, Aaron had 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!
Dry Land Distillers officially opened in June 2018 right 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 products are a dry land heirloom wheat whiskey, an award-winning mezcal-style cactus spirits, and a pure cane rum. A dry land gin is next on the list; we’re attempting to use only Colorado native botanicals, and discovering it’s a significant challenge…
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.
How did the name Dry Land come to be?
Many of our ingredients come from the plains and arid parts of Colorado. These places often get overlooked, and we’re proud to celebrate some of Colorado’s most iconic lands by using ingredients that are grown on the dry lands of our state. Our goal is to capture the essence of Colorado in our spirits, and the name “Dry Land” is a homage to the places we love.
What makes what you do you unique and special?
Our products are almost all original spirits. We are the first to distill the ancient grain in our Heirloom Wheat Whiskey, we’re the only distiller using the 100% native Colorado Antero Wheat, and we have created an original spirit with our Prickly Pear Cactus. Our gin is the only true 100% native Colorado Gin – we use only botanicals that are native to Colorado. We strive to be the top cocktail destination in Boulder County – every cocktail is made using ingredients we craft ourselves, including bitters, vermouth, mixers, and of course the spirits!
What events and specials can we look forward to when visiting you?
We offer live music two Fridays per month through our Soundpost Sessions – these are original music series featuring some of Colorado’s leading musicians.
We also offer weekly cocktail specials – check the board in the lounge! Fantastic, award-winning craft spirits, amazing hand-crafted cocktails, and exceptional service from our mixologist team.
What are the drinks that you are most known for and can you describe them?
Our Smoky and Spicy Margaritas are the top sellers – we use fresh citrus, our Cactus spirit, and in our spicy marg, we muddle fresh jalapeños. Our Whiskey Old Fashioned is in the running for the best Old Fashioned in town – we use our Colorado Antero Wheat Whisky with our in-house orange bitters.
Finally, our Hot Buttered Rum (Seasonal) gets RAVE reviews from patrons – we use high butterfat content butter, half the sugar typically used in HBRs, and clotted cream to float on the top.
Tell us a little bit about your process behind-the-scenes of brewing/distilling:
We start with the raw ingredients for all our products (no adjuncts or pre-processed ingredients). Most are sourced locally in Colorado or from small family growers in places like Arizona (Cactus, Heirloom Grain), California (cactus), and Louisiana (Raw Sugar Cane). We mash and ferment in-house, and all our products go through primary distillation in our 200-gallon custom fabricated still. We also have an in-house gin still that we use to craft our Colorado Gin.
Do you offer take-home products/drinks?
We offer bottle sales of all our spirits – although we often have big waiting lists, so make sure you get on our mailing list to get advance notice of our releases!
Do you offer your tasting room for private events?
Yes. Our tasting room is well-suited for small group events (25 or fewer people). Rental rates are very reasonable, and we can craft cocktails and bar snacks for any group.
What do you think of the craft beer and cocktail scene in Longmont?
It’s one of the top craft beverage scenes in the state! Super collaborative, highly creative, and the quality of products being produced in Longmont is second to none.
Someone new walks in, what do you suggest they order?
A tasting flight if it’s your first time in!
Cocktails we typically recommend based on each person’s interests/pallete. But definitely check the board for our daily and seasonal specials.
Is your establishment family and dog friendly?
Very family and dog friendly! Dogs must stay in the distillery area (not go into the café). Kids are welcome, and we make some killer mocktails!
What would you tell our hoppers about why they should stop in and visit you?
We craft some of the top distilled spirits in Colorado – and most of our spirits are original or unique. We’re winning international and local awards for all of our spirits, and we guarantee we’ll find a cocktail and spirit that you’ll love.
We also offer tours/tastings. Most folks actually enter the distillery through our alley entrance which gives them a chance to tour the distillery! Email or call us if you want to schedule a private tour/tasting – they are about 20 – 30 minutes.
What days and hours are you open to the public?
We’re open Thursday + Friday 3-9 pm, and Saturday 2 – 9 pm
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes – we’d love to meet you! Even if you’re not spirits-oriented, we will craft a cocktail specifically for you. Or, just come on in and sort through our vinyl collection and put some records on while enjoying great company. We hope to see you soon!
Be sure to give Dry Land Distillers a visit! Find out more info:
Address: 471 Main Street, Unit B, Longmont CO 80501