Today we’d like to introduce you to Kallyn Romero, Robert Adams and Laura Walters.
Kallyn, Robert and Laura, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Robbie and I were having a beer after a backpacking trip in southern Colorado in 2015 when we started tossing around the idea of opening up a brewery concept together. Robbie was helping out at Platt Park Brewing Co which my good friend opened up. I was doing marketing for a variety of companies but was itching to open my own business (both of my parents have owned their own businesses, so it runs in my blood!). The stars aligned for us with timing and we began a business plan, secured funding, and started hunting for the perfect location. Our vision morphed into a distillery over a brewery – we wanted to be more innovative and creative in the spirit and cocktail world and the brewery scene in Denver was becoming saturated.
We landed upon an amazing space (we call it an urban oasis) on the west side of the RiNo District. The previous owners of Ironton Studios & Gallery approached us, wanting to sell and knowing that we wouldn’t scrape the lot and turn it into a high rise. We kept all the structures, including the two-story studio building where we still have many artists working onsite. We turned one of the buildings into our distillery production and tasting room/bar, and another building into a kitchen (opening soon!) and art gallery. We also kept the gardens and courtyard intact and have turned it into our outdoor patio (one of the largest in Denver) and a garden to pull from for our cocktails and spirits in the spring/summer.
We hired Laura Walters (previously at Stranahan’s) in February of 2017 and began developing our production process and products. We had many bumps and setbacks throughout the buildout and start-up phase, but we were finally able to open in August of 2018! We have one of a handful of ‘distillery pub’ licenses in the state which allows us to sell beer, wine, and food in addition to all of our housemade spirits and cocktails. We wanted to please a wider variety of consumers, so if you’re not a cocktail fan, you can still enjoy a local brew or glass of wine.
We have already released over a dozen products including spirits, liqueurs, and bitters and we’ve got whiskey aging and ready to release starting this summer! We started distributing a few of our products (Ponderosa Gin, Platinum Rum & Coffee Liqueur) so you’ll start seeing us at your local bars, restaurants and liquor stores!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Of course not! But we’ve learned A LOT in the process.
– Finding a location – Robbie and I are both very outdoorsy and adventurous (and both CO natives), so we knew we wanted to have a large outdoor space. Finding that plus a space that is zoned for manufacturing (very strict regulations on distilleries) and a bar was no easy feat, in fact, we initially started at another location right next door to us. We were pretty far into the design and permitting process when our neighbors at Ironton Studios & Gallery came to us wanting to sell their property. We couldn’t pass up their amazing outdoor courtyard space as well as the fantastic art and artists – keeping true to the RiNo artistic roots.
– The design, construction, permitting, and inspection processes were a nightmare and a half. We were always on a wild goose chase trying to figure things out – whether it was with the fire department, city planning, liquor licensing or many of the other departments we’ve had to work with.
– Our location in RiNo is great, but it also comes with some difficulties. This area isn’t nearly as developed as the rest of the city (i.e., we don’t have sidewalks, amongst many other things). We have had to put a lot more time and money than expected into updates along the streetscape, our utilities and other improvements to the lot and public right of way.
– I am also crazy and decided to plan my wedding during this process as well!
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse – what should we know?
From the mountains to the city, there’s an undeniable spirit of adventure that runs through the state of Colorado. Our goal is to capture it with the best ingredients, flavors, and experiences this great state has to offer. And just like Colorado, there’s always more to taste, discover and explore. We invite you to do just that at Ironton Distillery and Crafthouse.
Adventure Ready Spirits. Traditional Meets Modern Distillation Methods. A constant desire to explore new flavors, recipes and experiences. Distilled onsite in our custom-made stills. That’s what makes our small-batch liquors stand out in the industry and on your taste buds. Because if you’re going to make spirits ready for adventure, you need to be adventurous in doing just that.
Cocktails Raised Right. Our rotating seasonal cocktail menu features simple ingredients and our in-house mixologists’ “less is more” philosophy to create adventurous flavors. Our unique distillery pub license allows us to sell beer, wine, and other spirits – keeping it local with what we bring in.
Denver’s River North neighborhood, aka RiNo, is a hotbed of art, innovation, culture, and exploration. That’s why we chose to plant our roots in this vibrant section of the city. In fact, we named our distillery Ironton to celebrate the district’s original 1800’s-era name. We’re proud to offer the neighborhood a place for adventure, creativity, good times and, of course, good drinks.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Kallyn Romero (Co-founder), Robbie Adams (Co-founder), Laura Walter (Head Distiller)
- Spirits and liqueurs available for purchase from the tasting room range in price from $18-32
- Bitters – $6
- Craft Cocktails – $8-$10 (some of the best prices in town! w/ half off all cocktails during Happy Hour M-TH 3-6pm, all day Tue!)
- Address: 3636 Chestnut Place, Denver, CO 80216
- Website: www.irontondistillery.com
- Phone: 720-532-0937
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/irontondistillery
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/Irontondistillery
- Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/ironton-distillery-and-crafthouse-denver