Fans of Telluride Distilling Company’s libations won’t have to travel to Lawson Hill any longer to enjoy local liquors, as the company opened Saturday a new tasting room in the Franz Klammer Lodge in Mountain Village.
The move was years in the making, co-owner Abbott Smith said, but finding a suitable, and affordable, location took some time. Options in Telluride were previously considered, too, he added.
“We started talking moving our tasting room up here over a year ago, but we just didn’t have the right space. When this came up it was a no-brainer. … This is exactly what we were looking for,” Smith said.
The tasting room is in the former Cornerstone Club, which already featured a bar so there wasn’t much that needed remodeling.
“Our buildout really consisted of us getting a soda gun and getting our ginger beer on tap,” Smith said, adding the new space is a “great little lounge” with a pool table. “ … All we really did was move a ton of our tasting room stuff up here from our Lawson Hill spot.”
Of course, he — along with co-owners Joanna Smith and Pete and Jake Jaeschke — wanted to make the space their own, working throughout the last week to put the finishes touches on their new home, which has an “elegant feel,” Smith said.
“When we first got up here it didn’t really feel like home, but the more stuff we got in here it definitely feels like home now,” he said.
Don’t let the facelift fool you, though, they’ll still be serving $5 Moscow mules, including their homebrewed ginger beer, and $4 shots of Chairlift Warmer, the local’s favorite schnapps. Smith called the company’s mules, “the best mule you can get your hands on.” Plus, there’s a “massively expanded” cocktail menu, which includes Old Fashioneds, Manhattans and Flatliners. There are televisions, too, looping ski and snowboard movies, especially this time of year, Smith explained. The capacity is 49 right now, but there may be an opportunity to up that, he added. Company apparel and liquors are for sale at the tasting room as well, making it a one-stop shop of sorts.
The quartet of co-owners worked closely with town officials, who all supported the move, Smith said.
“They were all really excited about it. They’ve wanted to get us up here,” he said. “ … The one thing that Mountain Village has been lacking is more bars. A tasting room seemed to fit up here well.”
Bill Kight, town director of communications and business development, said the tasting room is a great fit for the town’s core.
“We couldn’t be more pleased that Telluride Distilling Company picked Mountain Village as a location for their new tasting room,” he said. “It is an exciting addition to our business corridor in Village Center as the town continues to grow with diverse businesses, all of which bring more vibrancy to the area for our community and our guests.”
The company’s liquor license allows it to operate two tasting rooms, but Smith said the Lawson Hill location at Society Turn is closed for now, though there are plans to reopen it, and possibly expand the space, sometime in the future. Summers are busier down there, he added, as most patrons are bikers taking a break from the nearby trails.
The Mountain Village location is easier to get to, especially during the winter, without driving which allows people to drink more responsibly.
Business hours are 2-10 p.m. seven days a week. Smith said those hours can fluctuate, if necessary, citing the weekends (Friday-Sunday) at the most likely days to open earlier and close later.