Single malt from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Central Staff

Regional industry – July 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Single Malt from the Valley

Earlier this year, two Vail businessmen announced plans to build a distillery in the San Luis Valley between Alamosa and Monte Vista. It wouldn’t be the first still in our part of the world — “Leadville Blue” was a favorite during Prohibition — but it will be legal and provide 15 to 20 full-time jobs.

The resulting whiskey would be called “single-malt Scotch” if it came from Scotland, but it can’t be called “Scotch” if it comes from Colorado. The Valley was selected for the distillery because it has enough good water, and local farmers already produce barley (for Coors), which will be malted, cracked, mashed, and fermented before distillation. Then the whiskey will be aged for at least three years.

Not far south is Taos, N.M., home of the West’s pioneer distillery which produced Taos Lightning, a favorite of trappers and traders. It was distilled from a wheat mash, rather than barley, but that’s about all we’ve been able to find out. Anybody know where we can learn more?