Colorado’s Beloved Stranahan’s Whiskey Heads Nationwide

Colorado’s Beloved Stranahan’s Whiskey Heads Nationwide

Unfamiliar with Stranahan’s? That must mean you don’t live in Colorado, where the Denver distillery has a list of over 25,000 “Stranafans” waiting to volunteer to work on the bottling line. The first self-proclaimed “Colorado Whiskey” is distilled from 100% malted barley with water from the Eldorado spring, making it an American single malt. It’s different from most Scotch because it’s aged in new American oak barrels, not refilled bourbon barrels. This brings out a noticeably oaky spice.

The story goes Jess Graber, a volunteer firefighter, arrived on the scene while the barn of George Stranahan (the original founder of Flying Dog Beer) was burning down. While they were unable to save the barn, the two struck up a conversation about their shared love for distilling and the brand was born.

Stranahan’s represents the first state whiskey since Prohibition, and is Colorado’s first micro-distillery. While the whiskey was available in multiple states for a few years, the small batch brand had to cut back distribution to only Colorado to be able to meet local demand. But now, the nation’s first Colorado Whiskey is heading out coast to coast.

The nose is met with red wine, coffee and vanilla notes, while on the palate a spicy, sweet, woody flavor subsides with moderate burn.

Bottled by hand in Denver, honors for the spirit include Whisky Advocate Artisan Whiskey of the Year, Malt Advocate Whiskey of the Year, and “Liquid Gold” status from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible. Pick up a bottle for around $60.

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Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.


  • Reply December 17, 2014

    Phil Lowry

    Outstanding. Did a tour of their distillery a couple years back. Excellent product.

  • Reply December 17, 2014


    Stranny’s also has a Snow Flake edition that is whiskey aged in wine barrels. Folks literally camp out in the freezing Colorado air to get a bottle of these limited runs ! I got picked to bottle a while back and it was a very cool time!

  • Reply December 17, 2014

    Christian Naylor

    You’re welcome, America.

  • Reply January 17, 2016

    Jeffrey D

    THANK YOU for posting about Stranahans! I didn’t drink whiskey until i went to grad school and it became my staple. I was a student at the University of Denver and Stranahan is the best! I have even waited hours in the snow for their limited release Snowflake. If you are ever in the Denver area, you have to check this place out. Good tour and a free tasting. Heck, if you live in Denver, sign up to be on the assembly team and get a free bottle…its worth it and only sold in Colorado! Thanks Andy. Another hit for me…

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