“The concept of this came about four years ago,” said co-founder Kallyn Peterson as she explained the original thought process behind what is now RiNo’s newest distillery. “We were on a backpacking trip and just afterward, having a beer, and we came up with this crazy idea to open a business together.”
Years later, they did just that. Peterson and her business partner Robbie Adams (both Colorado natives) opened Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse in RiNo. Formerly Ironton Studios & Gallery, the large space is now home to a different kind of art form — distilling. They plan to produce handcrafted varieties of small-batch spirits from whiskey to vodka, gin, rum and even seasonal liqueurs.
“Everything is grain to bottle,” explained distiller Laura Walters, formerly of Stranahan’s. “Even our vodka. We’re not buying any neutral material and shipping it in.”
In addition to small-batch whiskey, gin, vodka and rum the Ironton team will produce liqueurs in an array of flavors from chocolate, ginger, coffee, mint and even a few seasonal options (like pumpkin spice) to use in their craft cocktails. And while Adams has (roughly) 12 years of experience in the industry (eight of which were in beer) this is both his and his partners first time in distilling.
“… I just felt like there was kind of just not a lot of innovation happening in the beer industry anymore. For me just personally,” Adams said as he explained why he chose to move from the beer industry to distilling. “I think there’s a lot of room for innovation in distilling and also a lot for me to learn. So it was just something new and exciting, and it’s just like the next frontier.”
Coupled with Peterson’s experience in marketing, Adams set out to create a space that would be both authentic and innovative. They took over the land at the corner of 36th and Chestnut Place and rebirthed it into Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse — with a full outdoor patio, large indoor space, expansive bar and spirit production room. And in keeping true to the original artistic vibe of the location, the two decided to keep the various art installations littered throughout the property. They have a full garden where they’re growing herbs and vegetables to mix into their concoctions like fresh sage, mint and an entire planter dedicated to bloody marys — and they even plan on serving food, in the future.
“I was a chef at one point as well, so I created the menu and it’s really, really simple,” said Adams in explaining his plans for the food menu. “So the style of kitchen is like everything here, really laid back. The kitchen [will be] fast-casual style. So the idea is you come in, you order food, grab a buzzer, come get your drink. By then hopefully, your food’s ready and buzzes you… go pick it up, sit down and enjoy yourself. So it’s very laid back. Not full service and will be treated more like a food truck.”
From flatbreads to sandwiches, cheese boards and salads — Ironton will soon have bites to accompany their intricate cocktails. From the Thai Gin Fizz ($10)made with house-made gin and lemongrass to the Espresso Martini ($10) made with Ironton’s house-made coffee liquor and a play on a G and T Your Way ($9) served Spanish style in a goblet with seasonal fruits and herbs — these drinks are made on property from the ground, up — and they’re available in RiNo, now. Ironton Distillery and Crafthouse is open Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m, Saturday from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information on the space check them out here.