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.