Fraser distillery will be family business
February 7, 2017
Fraser is in the process of developing a restaurant scene and downtown-feel. Barry and Debbie Young are trying to contribute to the Town's development by opening a distillery in Fraser's FroDo (Fraser Downtown) area. Like many Grand County residents, the Youngs are not Colorado natives, but moved here full-time after they had been visiting Winter Park for many years.
The distillery, which will open within the next four years, will have a tasting room and a restaurant. Barry said it's important to serve food in mountain communities to attract tourists and the hungry post-ski crowd. There will also be an outdoor seating area with classic Grand County views.
The distillery will focus on whiskey, but the Youngs want to appeal to everyone including the non-whiskey drinkers. They plan to distill several varieties of gin using the abundance of local juniper bushes, and sagebrush balanced with other aromas. Whiskey varieties could range from American single-malt, rye, or bourbon, but those details are still being ironed out. The Youngs also plan to distill vodka at their establishment.
"In a tourist economy it's important to have a broad range of products," Barry said. The distillery will offer tours, tastings, and craft cocktails.
The Young's daughter, Jenna, has a PhD in Microbiology and experience in complex fermentation. She is currently working in a high-end restaurant and bar to learn the skills needed to operate the family business. She plans to move to Grand County when the business is closer to opening.
Barry said he is excited about Fraser's vision to develop a restaurant scene, and the overall vision of the county to expand and be a year-round destination for businesses and residents. The Youngs chose Fraser because they are residents and are invested in the community. Barry is on the Economic Development Committee and Debbie is on the Planning Commission.
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Barry said if it is possible to use only local vendors (surveyors, architects, and builders) that would be the preference for his business.
"How exciting would it be to be a local architect, come into the distillery and say to your friends 'I helped design this,'" Barry said.
He referenced Colorado's distilling regulations as more favorable than many other states—another reason he chose to open his business here.
"We're excited about this. We uprooted our lives and moved because we love it here," Young said.
"If you look forward to the Fraser Valley's future in the next 10 years you can get very excited."
Young has experience with home beer brewing. In the past year he has taken several classes and read many books on the art of distilling.
Eastom Avenue, U.S. Highway 40 and Doc Susie Ave will border the distillery. Barry said he finds it important to be located directly off Highway 40 to be visible to customers.