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Longmont's Dry Land Distillers receives statewide honor

Local distillery earned top spot at Colorado Manufacturing Awards held virtually earlier this month.
Dry Land Distillers co-founder Nels Wroe. Dry Land was honored Craft Distiller Manufacturer of the Year at the Colorado Manufacturing Awards in August 2020. (Photo by Sheila Conroy)

For the last five years, the Colorado Manufacturing Awards have chosen winners in 14 categories that represent excellence in their specific field.  This year, the winner of the Craft Distiller Manufacturer of the Year award was Dry Land Distillers from Longmont.  Dry Land was represented at the virtual awards ceremony by co-founder Marc Staats, who emphasized “how much of a team sport producing anything from raw ingredients is, and it's no different for distillers.”

"We're genuinely proud of this honor. We couldn't do it alone — the community, our amazing distillery team, friends and family, our growers, and great distillers throughout Colorado are all key to our success," Staats told CompanyWeek, which co-hosted the virtual awards ceremony held earlier this month. .

Dry Land beat out a strong field of distillers from the Front Range, such as Denver’s Mythology Distillery, and the Western Slope, such as Storm King Distillers of Montrose.  Dry Land’s winning approach, according to CompanyWeek publisher Bart Taylor, is to continue the “powerful tradition of craft manufacturing in Colorado. The focus on local sourcing, on the craft of the trade, but more, the company's commitment to people and the community, all comport with attributes that truly distinguish the industry. Dry Land Distillers is a worthy winner that sustains the award in exceptional fashion."

Dry Land’s distillery in based in downtown Longmont at Fifth Avenue and Main Street, off the alley behind the La Vita Bella coffee house.  In non-COVID times, patrons can drink Dry Land cocktails and sample its gin, rum and whiskey in the tasting room. A favorite with regulars is the Cactus Spirit, a smoky, mezcal-like spirit unique to Dry Land.

Co-founder Nels Wroe said Dry Land is weathering the COVID storm, and is opening its tasting room by reservation so tables and tasters can be safely distanced.  Dry Land also is filling online orders for both cocktails and bottles, with pickup at the alley entrance Wednesday through Saturday.  Wroe also said Dry Land is seeing success with its occasional delivery service, also for cocktails and bottles, which extends into Denver. The next home delivery for Dry Land is Aug. 29.

The company also is expanding its distribution to 10 retail outlets this year.

Longmont’s own Sticker Giant also was honored with a 2020 Colorado Manufacturing Award in the Advanced Manufacturing & Machining category. StickerGiant was recognized for its production process that allows the company to turn around most label products within 24 hours, according to a post from industry website Labels & Labeling.

Other winners were: 

●   Bioscience Manufacturer of the Year: Molecular Products, Louisville 

●   Aerospace Manufacturer of the Year: Barber-Nichols Inc., Arvada

●   Outstanding Food Brand/Co-Packer: American Outdoor Products, Boulder

●   Innovative Product of the Year: Guerrilla Gravity, Denver

●   Industrial & Equipment Manufacturer of the Year: TEI Rock Drills, Montrose

●   Outstanding Craft Brewer: Dry Dock Brewing, Aurora

●   Consumer Brand of the Year: Meier Skis, Denver

●   Winery of the Year: Carboy Winery, Littleton

●   Cannabis Manufacturer of the Year: Hemp Depot, Colorado Springs

●   Building/Construction Manufacturer of the Year: RK Mission Critical, Denver

●   Manufacturing Woman of the Year: Sue Frank, TEI Rock Drills, Montrose

●   Energy & Environmental Manufacturer of the Year: VAIREX air systems, Boulder