Its 2:00 am, 20 degrees, and I can no longer feel my toes but I’m excited, and so is the crowd. We are queued outside the Stranahan’s distillery in industrial south Denver for the release of their 12th Snowflake, Mount Shavano Malbec. Aside from the superb main line whiskey, these limited releases, always named after a mountain, are one of the most compelling aspects of our local distillery. This is my third time in this line; I used to be able to show up at 7:00am.
I horde Snowflake releases. Each one has a unique flavor that I’m terrified of losing, not just for the taste, but for the memories I have of the purchase. Aging whiskey in wine barrels isn’t unique but the way in which Stranahan’s handles the release is. The announcements are made over social media and it is strictly first come first served at the distillery only. There is an amazing sense of community that forms in each of the lines as we wait for our reward. To be honest, it’s probably due in large part to the fact that we Coloradans are homers. We take a huge amount of pride in our local businesses, especially breweries and distilleries. We champion their success, even more so when the product is as special as a one of a kind whiskey. I’m not sure there’s another place where Stranahan’s could have established this kind of following. At $100 a bottle and a two bottle limit they sell out every time, often within two hours, and often disappointing the lines of people still wrapped around the block. I’m sure by the 20th release there will be talk of tents.
On December 7th Stranahan’s will be releasing Mount Sneffels, its latest snowflake bottling. Be sure to get there well before 8:00am and I promise there isn’t a more impressive holiday gift you could find for a Colorado drinker.