The Night Shift

As I sit here watching the spirit still heat up I am transported to the very early days of my career when we had just started Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.  I am watching  the still that started it all.   In the beginning the distillery was a 600 sqft room with one little still and a few old beat up dairy tanks.  The 160 gallon Vendome Copper pot column still ran both the wash and the spirit.  I would work a 10 day week, the first 8 distilling wash and then the last 2 days distilling the spirit from the week.  That would yield 3 barrels.  It seems like yesterday but it was 7 years ago.  I would put in 12-16 hour days with out even noticing.  I was so immersed in the process, I would often sleep on the wooden table for a few hours to avoid going home so I could get another batch started.  Today I sit in a 60,000 square foot facility with a 750 gallon Vendome pot column and the original 160 gallon still….and we are looking at expanding again..  We are currently distilling, 3 shifts, 24×5 producing 10 barrels a week, and our whiskey is distributed in 38 states and 7 other countries.  It has been an amazing experience to see our dream literally come to life.  We have received a number of major awards, but the real reward is handing a bottle across the counter to  some hard working guy that has chosen to spend his hard earned on my whiskey.  Not because it is cheaper, or solely because it is local, but because it is better.  I am covering the 5pm to 1am shift for one of my distillers that is on vacation.  Sitting here alone in the distillery, breathing the aromas, watching the stills, just the sounds of the copper groaning and the cat wandering listlessly mewing in search of a mouse, I am transported to those early days of wonder.  Long days filled with discovery, excitement, and hard work.  It is nice to fill in on a night shift every once in a while and sit alone in the distillery and be reminded of why I started this in the first place.

Listening to: Undisputed Truth – Smiling Faces Sometimes

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