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Daily Inspiration: Meet Rick Talley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rick Talley.

Hi Rick, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I am a Colorado native born and raised in Littleton, CO.  I grew up spending as much time outside as possible. Weather it was romping around Horseman’s Park near my house with friends, skiing  any chance I got during the winters or hiking and camping during the summers.  I’m a Littleton High School and Daniel’s College of Business alumni.

I learned how to brew beer over at Owen Locke’s house at an early age and we continue our being enthralled with the alchemy of beer and began distilling whiskey in 2010 together after we graduated from DU together with our MBA degrees.  We began making some darn good whiskey and thought others might enjoy it too, so we started Locke + Co distilling together.

Locke + Co Whiskey welcomes everyone, and everyone is welcome, whether around a campfire or a fine-dining table. Remarkably smooth and flavorful, our small-barrel, Aspen Aged craft spirits helps create the warmth and personal connection of good times and great memories. Aged, bottled, and blended by sixth-generation Coloradans Owen Locke and Rick Talley, Locke + Co Whiskey results from the secrets of and traditions of moonshiners on a mission: to create a whiskey among the best in the West. After years focused on business development, management, and client service, as well as giving back (Rick serves on Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s Giving Club Council; Owen on the board of nonprofit Geneva Glen Camp) both established successful careers. However, the alchemy of creating something new through careful selection helped both distill down their busy working lives. They extracted out one common element: celebrating the best of what life in Colorado has afforded. This guiding principle, of sharing that experience, hit them while hand-cutting the aging discs from mature stands of aspen on family land flanking Central Colorado’s Mosquito Range. All the best days added up. The days spent camping, hiking, biking, fishing, snowboarding, and skiing: that sunset toast after an unending day fly-fishing the Yampa, the warm nip from a flask on a cold chairlift, the laughter over a late-summer backyard game of cornhole. The unapologetic last howl at the moon. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
A big challenge is that we only make whiskey at Locke + Co Distilling and one thing about whiskey is it is not quick to market. We launched in January 2016, but our first product didn’t hit shelves until September 2018. Waiting the 32 months for our first whiskey to age brought with it the challenges of not having a positive cash flow for almost 3 years. That in it of itself is a sizable challenge. We have now been in the market for over 3 years and are continuing to expand our product offerings. Whiskey takes time. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
The Locke’s family roots in Colorado moonshining go back several generations. Owen Locke kept the craft tradition alive with an early knack for brewing that continued through college to graduate school, where he reconnected with Rick Talley 

The high school friends and lacrosse teammates immediately recognized that their collaborative styles complemented each other well, working through MBA degrees together at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business as hand sale experts for Beam Suntory. It didn’t take them long to realize they could create something bolder and wilder than the premier spirits they offered at countless tastings. In 2010, the team bought a 23-gallon still that turned a garage hobby into a lifestyle with their first whiskey batches aged in small barrels. 

For Owen, the independent spirit of the Wild West still inspires the sixth-generation Colorado native with a wild desire to create, to build, to become—or celebrate—anything. At 15, he started sourcing home-brew ingredients, refining his fermentation skills ever since. Rye always stood out: the complexities and unique flavors it brings to cocktails. It just tasted a bit more wild than other whiskey. 

Rick shares the same Colorado-bred love of the outdoors—eager to answer the pull toward the peaks with friends and family and to explore deeper. Drawn from an early age to the high country’s historic forts, mines, and ranches of past lives forged and fueled by whiskey, he shares the same appreciation of the broad base that rye provides other cocktails, as well as its simple balance to act on its own.

And what sets us apart is pulled from this background and how it helped shape our aging process, that is our unique identifier that truly makes our whiskey have A Taste Like No Other.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
Owen and Rick grew up together in Colorado enjoying the outdoor lifestyle that comes with it. Fly-fishing, camping, skiing, hiking and occasionally causing some trouble together. Both families still live in Colorado and have strong ties to volunteer work and giving back to the community that provided so much to them.  We both value our connections family, friends and people we just met over anything else in life.


  • Aspen Aged Rye Whiskey 90 Proof – MSRP $69.99
  • Single Barrel, Cask Strength – MSPR $110

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