Banging Stranahan Bungs With John Hickenlooper

April 2009
On Wednesday, the good folks at Stranahan's casked their 1,000th barrel of award-winning whiskey at their tiny downtown Denver distillery. Co-founder Jess Graber and head distiller Jake Norris were both on hand, as was Mayor John Hickenlooper, who filled the barrel with whiskey and then sealed the "bung" with a few blows from a hefty mallet. (After it's aged, Stranahan's will donate the whiskey to the charity of Hick's choice.) Stranahan's has seen its fortune rise as the state's first microbrewery. In five years, it's produced 52,800 gallons of whiskey, sold all across the country. And the company hopes to be expanding again soon. While at the distillery, I also had the chance to taste Stranahan's special small-batch "Snowflake" series, which undergoes a second aging in wine barrels. Currently, the distillery is selling the first of the series, Hungarian White Oak, which is a touch spicier than regular whiskey--and the company plans to role out three more varieties, which were aged in Cabernet Franc, Port, and "Grand Mesa" barrels. The Snowflake bottles are only available at the distillery and cost $75--a hefty amount, but well worth it.