Blue Valley Spirits distillery to open by early summer

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Red Waldron remodels the inside of what was formerly the Grand Adventure Brewery dining area in preparation for his distillery.
Red Waldron remodels the inside of what was formerly the Grand Adventure Brewery dining area in preparation for his distillery.

by Christy Parrott
Red Waldron is working overtime to reach the day he can celebrate the grand opening of Blue Valley Spirits distillery with his community. “We’re hoping to be running in time to celebrate Kremmling Days,” says Waldron, who’s been mastering his craft for 13 years. Housed in the same building as Grand Adventure Brewing, the distillery will, essentially, double the space of the brewery’s current layout. This may seem counter to the current floorplan, but Waldron is working in tandem with GAB founder Rick Reliford to move the centrally located bathrooms and renovate the entire space. “You’ll be able to see through the distillery equipment with glass to the ceiling,” Waldron explains.

Currently, Waldron is constructing his distillery, which will include a tasting room with a twenty-foot bar to serve his signature craft cocktails. Barrels of whiskey, rum and a specialty product comprised of clove, cinnamon, orange and apple (along with seasonal varieties) will be onsite. Waldron has crafted 8-12 craft cocktails to showcase his spirits, such as a specialty old fashioned infused with maple and orange. Blue Valley Spirit’s products are named for peaks in the area and aged in white oak barrels from Kentucky. “It takes a lot to get going, and the product has to sit in barrels for years,” Waldron explains.

In addition to completing the tasting-room construction, Waldron is waiting for the final approval of the necessary permits and inspections. “We still haven’t gotten a license because of the government shutdown,” Waldron explains. “Brewers can’t even get out a label.” The government shutdown has not only delayed the issuing of the license, which had already been submitted for over 90 days, but will create further lack of progress due to the inherent backlog. Red tape involved at state, local, even federal levels can be a maze for anyone attempting to open a distillery. “They scrutinize a distillery more than a brewery, because of the volatility of the product,” Reliford understands. It’s taken Waldron 5 years to go from concept to fully-realized business. “I’ve secured two investors and an SBA loan, but I’m my own boss, doing my passion for a living,” Waldron says. Blue Valley Spirits will produce a high-quality product coming out of Kremmling and distributed throughout Denver and the front range. “It’s something we can all be proud of,” Waldron says.

Although the current building will house both Grand Adventure Brewing and Blue Valley Spirits, each will remain a separate business. Regulations require the distillery remain separate from the brewery, because, according to law, a brewery, distillery and distributor must remain separate. “We’re not allowed to mix the two,” Waldron explains. Still, it was a natural collaboration for Reliford and Waldron to work together. “We have very similar methods. We both use quality ingredients, locally sourced, like rosehips, so there’s a great interplay across flavors. We both want to explore pushing the boundaries of methods and composition,” Reliford shares.

Both Grand Adventure Brewing and Blue Valley Spirits strive to produce products that appeal to “Anyone who likes good food, beer and liquor,” Waldron says. In the months to come, the two businesses are looking to provide even more live entertainment and make better use of the outdoor patio. The collaboration between Grand Adventure Brewing and Blue Valley Spirits creates another local business, preventing larger companies from moving in and taking over. Support is crucial to maintain a thriving Main Street, yet anyone who gives Blue Valley Spirits a shot, pun intended, are sure to become repeat customers.

Red Waldron is working overtime to reach the day he can celebrate the grand opening of Blue Valley Spirits distillery with his community.

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