Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey: Great Whiskey Is Still The Priority

Time does change many things, but here is to hoping that time won’t change a thing about Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.  There have been a lot of internal changes taking place at Stranahan’s.  A while back they were bought out by a multi-national conglomerate in the spirits industry called Proximo Beverage.  Then they contracted into just Colorado, and people wanted to know what was going on.  Then what seemed quite foreboding was the resignation of their Master Distiller Jake Norris.  Who was going to make the whiskey?  What was going to happen to this home grown distillery?  Were we headed down a bad path?  I put my fears out there in a couple of posts.  First I talked about their take over here.  Then I talked in much darker terms about the take over here, after Jake resigned.

So Sunday a ray of hope was posted to the blog which I just have to share.  I got this rather lengthy comment from new Master Distiller Rob Dietrich.  It sounds like things are back on track, and perhaps better with the financial backing of Proximo.  I’ll let you be the judge.

Hello all,
Glad to see the passion and support still burning brightly for this fine whiskey.
I had some big (gigantic!)shoes to fill when Jake left the building, and tossed and turned many a night as to what the future would bring with the new ownership and what my role in this wood-soaked saga would really be.
I cut my teeth in the industry on Jake’s watch, hired on as the first night distiller and midnight ninja (which required BB gun sniper skills (mice), multi-tasking (sleeping on a cot next to the still with my dog on fireman’s hours, while maintaining the stills) and the random requisitions,(Flying dog Brewery beer leftovers) while learning much from him and experimenting on my own as well. I couldn’t have picked a better time, place or person to learn this craft.

The gist of it is, this whiskey sells itself. It’s freakin’ amazing. I love it. I would never change it.
Pioneers before me created a masterpiece; my job as the current steward is to maintain its beauty.
That being said; yeah, the times, they are a changin’-as they always do, whether we like it or not. The building is being renovated, production being first in line (thank you Jebus, for more clamps, valves and hoses!) and what we are doing is making more whiskey, faster.
An oxymoron, I know.
But it boils down to this: More fermenters, more stills, more barrels. The recipe doesn’t change, the aging doesn’t change, we just make more-which is a good thing.
My apologies to the outer states-we’re only distributing in Colorado right now, with good standing that we will distribute nation-wide once again when we can catch up with aging.

So, that being said…

Before the torch of head distiller was passed, I was the barrel manager. Not an unpleasant job…but, as I was fond of saying and still say; I’m always living in the past, present and future.

What was barreled in the past, affects our present. What is barreled now, affects our future. What we currently harvest, affects everything.
I am so VERY careful as to how that turns out- because I love whiskey as much as all of you…and I fucking love THIS whiskey.

I still have beers with Jake every week, if I can. I still sit at my local when I can and I don’t always drink what I make. I love what I do, I drink to my mood, but generally it’s whiskey and it’s usually THIS whiskey. Can’t help it-I’ve grown accustomed to its face.

I wax poetic and long. My apologies, but can’t help it; I’m old school and don’t blog. I write letters with a typewriter, work on my own cars, make my own liquor; I’m a combat veteran and generally stay away from people. I’m still getting used to it all.
Thanks for staying strong, for being patient and I will do my best to get to you the finest malt-barley whiskey this side of the wide Mississippi.
Rob Dietrich

I think with a guy like Rob at the helm, Stranahan’s will remain a strong brand and moreover continue to make great whiskey for a long time to come.  Thanks Rob.



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21 Comments on “Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey: Great Whiskey Is Still The Priority”

  1. January 31, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Epic comment there from Rob. Looks like Stranahan’s is in good hands indeed.

    • Don
      January 31, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      I just wonder how he got his typewriter to go into the computer?

  2. January 31, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    I found a bottle in NJ once – now I realize how lucky I was for that – and shared it at an outdoor gathering. Folks were amazed by it.

    The whiskey is good, the posters are good, and the company seems cool so I hope that we get to see more Stranahan’s in the mid-Atlantic soon. Damn good stuff.

    • Don
      January 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      It is great whiskey Brendan. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had it a couple of times. Hopefully they will ship to Idaho pretty soon, as their production amps up!

  3. BeerBanker
    January 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Now that’s someone who’s passionate about his work and his product. Best of luck to him…Now if we could just get him to hop in his time machine to accelerate that aging process so they could start shipping to the ever so dry “outer” states !

    • Don
      January 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      It’ll be worth the wait!

  4. January 31, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    That’s refreshing to see and it seems sincere.

    The next time you guys are in Denver, be sure to check out their adjoining Rackhouse Pub, which serves lots of Colorado beers along with their whiskey. I recently attended an Avery tap takeover there and had a great time.

    • Don
      January 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

      What’s not to love? Avery on every tap, and Stranahan’s behind the bar! Sounds perfect!

    • January 31, 2012 at 1:11 pm #

      Ya, I love the tap takeovers, been to a few. One of the best was when Dry Dock had a takeover AND brought a couple of firkins!

      Everyone who tastes this whiskey, even old school hardliners, falls in love from the first sip.

      • Don
        January 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

        Will, it is always unnerving when a large company takes over a home spun one, because the first thing everyone thinks is quality will suffer. And to make matters worse in this instance, Proximo was so close lipped about what was happening, speculation was running wild on the interwebs. I’m really glad Rob commented, and it sounds like things are getting in shape nicely.

        • January 31, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

          Agreed. That sign in your photo just went up this past week, don’t know whether to take it as just getting the name out there or as the prelude for some schmaltzy media blitz. So far, judging from the people who work both for the Rackhouse and Strannies, it’s still business as usual, in a good way. I’ll still reserve final judgement when the first batches after the change are ready, but it does look like we’ll have nothing to worry about.

        • Don
          January 31, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

          That’s why that sign is in my photo! 😉

  5. January 31, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Great reply.
    Unfortunately their distributor sucks. Our medium-sized store supported, advertised and marketed Stranahan’s when they first bottled. Now, we are allocated 3 Bottles every 8 WEEKS, while corporate stores received 15-20 cases per drop! Needless to say 3 bottles is not enough and our customers (who are left) are very frustrated, and I’m so mad I’d like to drop this product.
    The Distributor favors the big stores, those not locally owned, and leave stores like ours (who chat with customers and promote CO products) in the dust. As such, we are forced to recommend Leopold Bros products (well, not really forced….that stuff is really good) to take attention away from Stranahan’s. So much for customer service.

    • Don
      January 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      Well Jason, that is a horse of a different color! I’m sure Proximo went with a volume distributor who is internally rationing the product until production increases. It hurts the small guys like yourself, but they pick the low hanging fruit first. Not sure there is an answer to your situation until production increases and everyone can get enough to satisfy their demand. An unfortunate byproduct of the antiquated three tier system.

      • January 31, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

        It may be a different horse, but same color 🙂 We’ve lost thousands of dollars in direct sales (more $$ indirect) since Proximo took over. Hard to support locals when this happens. And the price hike didn’t help lol

        • Don
          January 31, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

          Other than choosing the distributor, that is choosing to short you product, I’m not sure Proximo is to blame for your situation. By all accounts if Stranahan’s didn’t sell out to Proximo they were headed for a similar predicament without enough product to satisfy demand. At least in their present state of affairs, it might be a bit of a wait, but eventually there will be enough for everyone. I wait for that day patiently, and hope it comes soon! 🙂

        • January 31, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

          Oh, for sure. That’s why I said their distributor sucks. If we treated our customers the way Rep/National treats theirs, we’d be out of bid’ness (and probably sued). I wonder if Stranahan’s is aware of how we (and others) are being treated by those who distribute their product. Maybe increased production will help, but like you said, their’s a separation between Dist and Prod. 3-tier system be gone!!

  6. January 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Stranahan’s is definitely a very good whiskey. Although I have never purchased a bottle of my very own, I have helped The Wookie and The Alemonger on several occasions with the eventual demise of their respective bottles. Does it still come with the shot glass top?

    • Don
      January 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Yes it does. Still have the top that is. I too have never parted with the $55 for a bottle. I have had it at bars however, and truly love the stuff!

    • January 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

      I’ll second what Don says, I’ve got a few of them at home. Although I must say that’s a hell of a large shot glass!


  1. More Bad News at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey | Beer & Whiskey Brothers Blog - February 21, 2012

    […] UPDATE 2/1/12: Stranahan’s new Master Distiller Rob Dietrich dropped us a note in the comments below, ensuring us that all is well at Stranahans.  We hope so!  We were so impressed with Rob’s words, that we gave him his own post! […]

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