Fraser Valley Distilling heats up still to begin producing spirits ahead of public opening
It all starts with mashed grain. Then there’s a fermentation process, followed by heat and distillation. Once that’s done, the whiskey is moved into wood barrels. Then you wait, then you taste. This process is at the heart of the new Fraser Still and Fraser Valley Distilling business owned by locals Barry and Debbie Young.
The distillery and restaurant combo recently received approval from the town to start up their distilling operation and begin making whiskey in preparation for their planned opening sometime in November.
“I think our focus is more on servicing customers in-house with craft cocktails, food and our products, as compared to just being a manufacturing facility focused on distribution,” Barry Young said.
With two stills, Young said they will ultimately be able to produce 3 barrels a week and still be able to experiment with new recipes and techniques. Right now, the family-owned and operated still will produce whiskey, vodka and gin, with plans to expand their whiskey and gin offerings in the future.
Young said what makes their spirits unique is the local ingredients they use and their willingness to experiment with aging techniques.
“We’re going to use different aging techniques, some techniques we think will produce spirits in just a few months and some will take as much as a couple years,” Young explained. “We’re going to make, over time, at least four different gins with different profiles. Our first one will be made with locally sourced juniper.”
Not to mention, customers won’t find triple sec or Grand Marnier in any of the cocktails offered at the Fraser Still, since they will all use homemade additives, such as their handcrafted tonic. Young explained that this is because of the legal requirements for distilleries in Colorado, but it won’t stop them from providing fun creations for guests.
That creativity carries over to the kitchen, where Young’s son Michael, has big plans for the menu. Michael Young said he is inspired by the farm-to-table movement and his travels, including his time cooking in Argentina and growing up in Georgia.
And of course, Young plans to incorporate whiskey into the menu.
“They’re traditional-like recipes inspired from all over the world,” he said. “It’s inspired by what I love and my own experiences. (…) We’ll be looking to use as much local (products) as possible.”
Young said he believes the menu will be dynamic and seasonal so that he can take advantage of ingredients during their peak. He also wants to make sure to provide vegan and vegetarian options, such as the southern favorite boiled peanuts.
Not only are the Youngs aiming to build a warm and friendly place for locals and visitors alike to enjoy good food and drinks, but they also want to educate customers on the nuances of their spirit distilling process.
They plan to offer tours of their stills and barrel rooms daily, complete with a whiskey tasting in the barrel room.
“The tour will start over in the distillery and we will fully explain the whole distilling process, how we make whiskey all the way from grains to barrels to your glass,” Barry Young said.
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When the Braidwood Condominiums in Winter Park were built in the 1980s, the building lacked hallways wide enough for wheelchairs, walls between units were slim and the fire suppression system couldn’t compare to modern requirements.