Distilling Change in the Craft World

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The Story Behind Devil’s Head Distillery

This week we continue our conversation with Ryan from Devil’s Head Distillery in Englewood, Colorado. Dreams can materialize from anywhere, and for Ryan, his started on top of a mountain, Devil’s Head Mountain, where the juniper berries planted an idea years in the making. Ditching the corporate world and changing suburban laws, the dream of juniper to gin became the reality of Devil’s Head Distillery. 

Video Notes to Highlighted Topics

0:38 The Story Behind the Devil
Growing up in the Castle Rock, Colorado area, an idea was born from hiking a mountain and the desire to harvest juniper berries.  Careful, those dreams in your 20’s might just become a reality.

2:25 The 25 Mile Journey 
Born in Englewood, living in Littleton, and going to school in Castle Rock, Ryan knew he wanted to open Devil’s Head in the ‘burbs of Denver.  Being then that it was illegal to open a distillery in both Englewood and Littleton, Ryan changed a few laws along the way in both municipalities.

4:50 The Artistry and Science of the Distilling Community
Just as in the craft beer industry, there’s a friendliness in the distilling community, as well, with camaraderie and support. Ryan also reveals why it’s necessary to do it all; he wants to keep producing the spirits. He has a love for both the artistry and the science of the distilling process.

7:20 The Artistry of Aquavit
With a rich cultural heritage in Europe, but relatively unknown here, Ryan initially crafted Aquavit as a way for his craft boutique distillery to stand out, but then grew built upon its craft artistry and flavor. (Be sure to check out part one where Ryan answers the constant question of, “What is Aquavit?”)

11:44 All Gin is not Created Equal
Distilling botanicals in various amounts and independently from each other for two years before opening, crafting his trade, Ryan has built a business with high quality spirits and craft cocktails.

14:26 The Biggest Challenge
Ryan talks about keeping perspective when it comes to having everyday issues with things like hot water heaters and such, but his business is so rewarding that those challenges really aren’t challenges.  He acknowledges that it takes a lot of work, but in the end it’s worth it.

15:41 A Stout Life
Ryan mentions quality over quantity which is very similar to the way he thinks about the spirits he produces, and wouldn’t be able to have that same quality if he had stayed in the corporate world.

We’d love to hear from you.

Overcoming challenges is a part of realizing dreams.  Ryan mentions keeping perspective when he has to deal with challenges.  How do you handle them? Inspire us in the comments below.

taproom at Devils Head Distillery in Englewood Colorado

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Be sure to check out Part One of Ryan’s Conversation where he walks us through the distilling practice and answers his most common question of, “What is Aquavit?”

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