West Virginia native Red Waldron brings craft distillery to Kremmling with Blue Valley Spirits
Across Colorado’s High Country the craft distillery industry is beginning to blossom and starting this summer Kremmling will become home to one of the state’s newest makers of spirits.
Blue Valley Spirits is scheduled to open later this year in either late spring or early summer, according to the distillery’s owner Jacob “Red” Waldron. The shop will be located in downtown Kremmling, on Central Avenue, in the same building as Grand Adventure Brewing Co. Waldron is renting and renovating roughly half of the building in which Grand Adventure Brewing is located with plans to install a 300-gallon hybrid pot still and four fermenting tanks. All told Waldron expects to be able to produce around 120 gallons of distilled liquor each week, which he hopes to begin distributing throughout north central Colorado.
“My production will be based on sales,” Waldron said. “I want to produce enough to distribute to at least five counties.”
Waldron is exactly the type of person you would expect to find running his own distillery. Born and raised in rolling hills of West Virginia, the laconic Waldron learned to make liquor from West Virginia moonshiners and has honed his craft on a small scale over the last several years. His moniker, Red, is derived from his auburn hair, most easily noticed in Waldron’s large thick beard.
The married father of one young daughter moved to Colorado over a decade ago and took up residence in the Kremmling area about three years before starting his new venture. While he has long had an affinity for making spirits it was the state’s burgeoning craft distillery industry that made him realize he needed to turn his passion into his profession.
“When I first came out here no one was making it,” Waldron said of craft distilling. “I started playing and experimenting with small batches, developing my recipes. When I started seeing the distilling industry blow up, about seven years ago, I really wanted to follow my passion and do my own craft.”
Waldron said he has looked for space for a distillery for several years but it was not until he met Rick Reliford, owner of Grand Adventure Brewing Co., that he found the right opportunity.
“He and I started talking,” Waldron said. “I had been looking for a place for several years. He said, ‘lets put it here.’ I started looking at the space and figured it would be a great match.”
Waldron is currently in the midst of a renovation project in the eastern front half of the building Grand Adventure Brewing occupies. Once completed the building will house both the brewery and the distillery, though the two businesses are separate entities.
“We will have a tasting room serving specialty cocktails and drinks,” Waldron explained. “We will be selling bottles and cases of our product and we will be self distributing throughout the local five counties.”
Waldron’s menu for this year includes Snow Mountain Vodka, Lily Gin – named after his daughter, Spring Creek White Whiskey and Ripsaw Rum. Waldron will also be producing a specialty product; an orange, cinnamon and clove spirit he calls Zodiac, named for the Zodiac View in the Gore Range. Waldron said he tends to prefer both whiskeys and rums as a distiller and plans to begin producing aged versions of both in Kremmling, though he cautioned that it would be at least two years before any of his aged products would become available.
“I like playing with rum,” Waldron said with a slight smile. “But whiskey is where my heart is.”
Waldron plans to age his whiskey in white oak barrels for two years at a time. Once the whiskey is removed from the barrels Waldron will reuse the same barrels to make his aged rum. Most of the mashes that Waldron uses to make his spirits come from corn and rye while his rums are produced from molasses and brown sugar.
Waldron’s business already includes one other employee and he said he plans to add a few more employees for in house help in the distillery and for sales.
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