After three years of work, Dry Land Distillers celebrates the grand opening of their new space.
After two weekends of soft openings at the new location, the distillery officially opened their doors at 519 Main Street on Friday. Throughout the night, owners and staff kept a packed house plied with cocktails and a spread of appetizers and hor d'oeuvres.
“We’re so excited to be in our new spot, to have some room to breathe and spread our wings,” said Dry Land Distillers bar manager Glen Carmichael. “Everyone that came in tonight helped us get here, helped us move down the street. We’re jazzed, it feels really good to be here.”
Karen Stallard, membership director at the Longmont Area Chamber of Commerce attended the grand opening in an unofficial capacity, one of many locals in attendance on opening night.
“It’s great to see Dry Land grow in a very Longmont way,” Stallard said. “The feel of the space remembers where we all came from but is taking us to new and exciting places as a community.”
The distillery specializes in unique spirits like heirloom Colorado wheat and Antero whiskeys, a gin made with native Colorado botanicals and the mezcal-like cactus spirit produced from mesquite-smoked prickly pear. The name Dry Land hearkens to the high desert and prairies of the American West where the founders, Aaron Main, Nels Wroe and Marc Staats, call home. To add to the celebration of the new location, Dry Land Distillers released a new light whiskey, along with the batch of their barrel-aged reposado cactus spirit.
“Both of the spirits were timed to release with the opening of our new tasting room,” Wroe said. “They’re limited releases, so once the bottles run out that’s it.”
When Dry Land Distillers first opened in 2018, its tasting room and production were limited to the small space tucked in the back of the building at 471 Main Street. The founders knew they would outgrow the space eventually.
Purchasing the building took two years of convincing, according to Wroe. Owned by former Longmont Mayor Roger Lang, he was initially hesitant to sell the property but Dry Land Distillers managed to convince him.
“We’re so grateful to Roger Lang. He could’ve sold it to anybody, but he took a chance on us,” Wroe said.
The new location is a historical property. Originally the home of the Valley Farm Dairy in the 1930s, the building has been home to a yoga studio, the Longmont Symphony and more. The southern wall of the tasting room is the original ceramic block from the dairy. According to Wroe, working with the material proved tricky but was well worth the effort to honor the local legacy.
The interior of the space pays homage to that history, according to Wroe, with a unique hybrid of modern and 1960s aesthetic in the decor. The cabinets and wood aesthetics in the tasting room and bar are local red cedar and cottonwood. The screen blocks that make up the western wall of the tasting room were custom-made from Durango.
“Our cabinets are made from one giant cottonwood tree that was cut down in Boulder and the folks at Dancing Grains in Boulder did a beautiful job,” Wroe said. “We really tried to get the details right from local crafts people.”
Wroe said staying Colorado local as often as possible has been a priority since Dry Land started. Much of their equipment comes from local manufacturers like Broomfield’s Rod & Forge and Rocky Mountain Vessels out of Montrose. Interior design and construction of the new location were handled by OPA Designs and Poudre Valley Construction, both Colorado companies.
For the time being, Wroe and company will still use the old space at 471 Main Street for production while they wait for new stills to be built. Wroe was hopeful that production in their new home would fully come online by September 2021. The distillery is selling shares of what Wroe is calling “barrel zero,” the first barrel of whiskey produced in the new location, with bottles and progress tastings for members of the program.
The Dry Land Distillers tasting room is open Thursday through Saturday, reservations are not required.