In mid-July of this year, Mile High Spirits released its first Bottled in Bond Whiskey. Representing a growing line of premium spirits, the $45 bottle is set to see seven to eight releases a year, with each new edition being comprised of entirely housemade hooch that has been aged a minimum of four years. The second iteration was released this last weekend at the tasting room and will roll out into local liquor stores over the course of the next month.
The distillery originally opened in 2011 at the current location of Ratio Beerworks. At first only producing clear spirits, it didn’t take long for founders Wyn Ferrell, Chase Campbell and Joe von Feldt to realize that whiskey was going to be an essential part of their growing line. “It was really quick, like a matter of weeks, that we realized that we’d have to be doing a whiskey,” said Ferrell. Fireside — originally released as a house blend of juice from Midwest Grain Products — was released to immediate acclaim and a surprising bit of derision.
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“Starting in 2014, we started putting in house-made hooch and trying to make it 50-50,” he continued, emphasizing that they had always been clear about the whiskey’s origin in a time when many distilleries were hesitant to acknowledge an MBP connection. The current mash bill is indeed half house-produced, with the team planning to keep it that way into the future. “The goal of Fireside is to replace Bulleit and Jack Daniel’s. It’s a $25 bottle of whiskey that is doing more than its job,” observed Ferrell.
In three short years, the distillery had outsized the space, and in 2014 the team relocated to the ballpark facility. In addition to the space’s massive 5,000 square foot music venue and bar, the aging area boasts over 600 barrels of whiskey with a variety of impressive one-offs.
Head distiller Tyler Joyce — a gregarious guru who credits his interest in brewing and distilling to a “misspent youth” — is a clear source of the Wonka-like energy that has been fueling the distillery’s latest projects. Upcoming releases include a wheated bourbon, a high rye bourbon and both Scottish and American-style single malts.
Ferrell and the rest of the team have consistently stressed the importance of keeping craft distilling fun and have succeeded in making incredible products while eschewing any kind of snobbery. “We’re not making the bottle you hide because people are coming over, it’s the bottle you buy when people are coming over,” grinned Ferrell.
Mile High Spirits is located at 2201 Lawrence St., Denver. It is open Wednesday from 2 – 11 p.m., Thursday from 2 p.m. – 12 a.m., Friday from 2 p.m. – 2 a.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. – 2 a.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 11 p.m.
All photography by Adrienne Thomas.