Dotsero’s Stoneyard Distillery offers a new reason to stop along I-70
If you go...
What: Fundraiser at Stoneyard Distillery – food, cash bar, free rum samples and dancing at the new rum distillery to raise money to help owner Max Vogelman to rebuild a home lost in a recent fire.
Where: Stoneyard Distillery, located on Highway 6 off of the Dotsero exit
When: Saturday, beginning at 6 p.m.
More info: www.stoneyarddistillery.com
DOTSERO — Dotsero is known to most as a sleepy residential community, a gateway to Glenwood Canyon, or simply as a sign that flashes by on I70. However, lifelong valley resident Max Vogelman hopes to add something to that list — boutique rum destination.
Vogelman, whose family had owned some land between Highway 6 and the river for years and operated it as a stone masonry. After the masonry closed down, Vogelman, 28, because brewing the idea of using the land to open a distillery. With the help of business partner Jim Benson, Stoneyard Distillery was officially born.
“It’s the perfect spot, out by the river,” Vogelman said. “We get water right out of the river and treat it here at the facility so we don’t have to worry about what kind of water we’re getting.”
Smooth, clear run
The distillery, which also includes a bar and tasting room, specializes in rum. At the moment, Vogelman is making clear, unaged rum — something he says you don’t usually find in stores — but also is working on some aged rum that will be ready in the next year or two. The rum-making started as a hobby, and a number of years ago, Vogelman even looked into starting a business, but was put off by the legal red tape that came with the work. It wasn’t until he began talking to Benson about the endeavor that things began to come to fruition.
He thinks he’s nearly perfected his recipe, a smooth, clear rum made entirely from scratch. That includes beet sugar from Eastern Colorado (most rum uses cane syrup, he says) distilled in a converted tank bought from Hostess when the snacks company went out of business.
“The goal is to make the simplest, cleanest rum there is,” Vogelman said. “Typically you’ll have the aged stuff to sip, and the clear stuff is better for mixing drinks, because you have to. However, ours is smooth because we polish the alcohol – it’s a process that does what aging does that smoothens it out.”
Stoneyard Distillery will officially open its doors in the next few weeks, offering live music, cocktails and sips from the bar and a number of local liquor stores have already committed to carrying the rum.
St. Patrick’s Day fire
However, things haven’t gone all smoothly for Stoneyard Distillery and Vogelman. On St. Patrick’s Day, Vogelman experienced some bad luck when his home, which is on the distillery grounds, burned down during an out-of-control brush fire.
Vogelman’s first order of business is to rebuild his home, and a fundraiser and party at the distillery Saturday, April 11, will help him raise money to do so. A grand opening party will follow a few weeks later.
The party, which begins at 6, will have cocktails, food and samplings from the tasting room. Vogelman has a positive attitude about the entire thing, and says he just thankful the fire didn’t damage the distillery.
For the future, he hopes that Stoneyard Distillery will become a valley-wide name.
“For now, we will sell at the distillery and are working on getting into liquor stores around the valley, focusing on local distribution,” he said. “We’d like to cover this valley very well, and branch out from there if we can.”
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Fire investigators are still working on determining the cause of Tuesday’s house fire in Glenwood Springs, which left no one injured but caused extensive damage.