Woody Creek Distillers, Craft Distilling at it’s Finest

Woody Creek Distillery

Located just outside of Aspen in Bastel, Colo., Woody Creek Distillery is an example of craft distilling at its finest and most complete. From growing the ingredients to craft their spirits to offering tasting adventures, Woody Creek is the culmination of a dream to produce pure, high-end, potato vodka. It’s the only distillery in North America to grow its own, special Polish potatoes to create the distillery’s vodka, too.

Compared to standard grain-made vodka, using potatoes is a costly endeavor – more than ten times the cost per batch than vodka made from grain. It’s also a more difficult process, potatoes deteriorate quickly, making time and care extremely important.

The Polish potatoes didn’t come easily to the distillery, which had to obtain USDA approval to import and grow the potatoes. So why go to all that trouble and expense?

Strobrawa potatoes are prized as the best source for vodka, and in growing them, along with the excellent, indigenous Rio Grande, Woody Creek is the only craft distillery in the U.S. to control all aspects of vodka creation. And, in terms of flavor, Strobrawa potatoes produce the ultimate clean and creamy vodka. The russet Rio Grande also provides a pure quality flavor.

Woody Creek isn’t only about vodka, they are also crafting 100% rye mash whiskey – from rye sourced at local Colorado farms. Soon to join the Woody Creek quiver is hand-crafted gin, which uses potato vodka as its base spirit.

Former engineer Patrick Scanlan, co-owns Woody Creek along with his wife Mary and friend Mark Klechner. They were inspired to create their potato-based vodka after tasting Chopin, a Polish potato-made vodka. The journey from inspiration to vodka creation took six years. Today, some 64,000 pounds of potatoes are harvested and sorted, washed, 80% peeled, and mashed.

And it’s not just the use of potatoes that’s special at the distillery. Woody Creek utilizes custom-designed 40-foot CARL artisan stills, built in Stuttgart, Germany to create its pure, unblended vodka and rye. It is distilled only once, which is also unique – vodka brands that distil repeatedly are doing so, according to Scanlan, to remove impurities.

Woody Creek’s potato vodka is offered as both reserve and signature spirits, with the reserve offering crafted from Strobrawa potatoes, and the signature from the Rio Grande. Like fine wines, Woody Creek’s vodkas are all about flavor and smoothness, and the distillery’s spirits have the awards to prove it: the vodka took double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2015. Woody Creek’s pure vodka is gluten free, crisp, and smooth.

Also on offer, is Woody Creek’s straight rye. Aged two years in American white oak barrels, crafted from Colorado rye, the spirit resonates with the flavors of white pepper, citrus, and vanilla.

The distillery offers tastings at the conclusion of rafting, kayaking, and biking adventures put on by Aspen’s Blazing Adventures tours, as well as more conventional tastes in their sleek, modern tasting room Wednesday through Sunday.

No matter where it’s tasted, the outstanding smoothness and purity of Woody Creek’s craft vodka is making the distillery one hot, sought-after potato.

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1 Comment

  1. Kelly pupetz

    January 23, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Would love to try this but severe allergies to all citrus. Do u use any citrus in the making of your vodka or rye. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!!

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