Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Who Owns Stranahan’s Whiskey

Tincup American Whiskey Review

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey

Whiskeys from out west have been hitting the market and getting good reviews more and more over the past few years. High West, Breckenridge Distillery, Templeton, and Ranger Creek have all been proving that you dont have to be from Kentucky to know good and make good bourbon. Tincup American Whiskey from Colorado seems to be looking to join those making news from West of the Mississippi. Jess Graber is the man behind Tincup. In researching this whiskey I learned that Graber is the co-founder of Stranahans Colorado Whiskey which is made in small batches in Denver. I have never had Stranahans but the small batch nature of the whiskey means that it is expensive and harder to come by. Right now it isnt available outside of Colorado. Tincup Whiskey is a separate brand from Stranahans, , but knowing about this back story helped me make sense of Tincup and how it came to be.

So what about Tincup American Whiskey?

It meets the technical definition of bourbon but for marketing reasons they are sticking with calling a whiskey. It has a higher rye mash bill and is cut with that Rocky Mountain Whiskey to 84 proof. The mash bill isnt on the website but I have read others that say that it is 64% corn, 32% rye, and 4% malted barley. I have no problem in admitting that this is one of the prettiest whiskey bottles Ive seen. I love the art deco look and the tin cup cover that can double as a cup.

But lets get down to our Tincup American Whiskey review and tasting notes.

Whiskey Review: Stranahans Mountain Angel 10 Year Old

Editors Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Stranahans. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Draw a line in your head with single-malt Scotch on one end and bourbon on the other, says Owen Martin, master distiller at Stranahans Colorado Whiskey. At various points along the line, American single malts appear some snugged right up against Scotch and others slipping down the line toward bourbon.

Its tempting to think American single malts are just versions of Scotch from this side of the pond. After all, both are typically made from malted barley. But its not that simple, Martin says. While Scotland shares somewhat consistent weather coast to coast, the climate in Washington state is wildly different from the one in New Mexico, which is wildly different from whats happening on the east coast. Theres also the fact that Scottish distillers are more inclined to abide by time-honored traditions and re-use barrels, while makers of American single malt are free to experiment and implement an astonishing variety of aging and finishing techniques.

Stranahans Mountain Angel 10 Year Old

Appearance: Burnt umber black tea.

Tincup Is Named For Colorado But Jess Graber’s Newest Whiskey Is Distilled In Indiana

Ben LandrethFebruary 11, 201412:36PM

But despite all the marketing about Colorado, Tincup isn’t actually distilled here — and isn’t connected to the state’s craft distilling movement in any way. Rather, it is made in Indiana with Midwest grains and then shipped to Colorado where it is cut with local water and bottled at the Stranahan’s plant.

See also:Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey has been sold to an East Coast liquor distributor

The reason is because it costs less to distill in Indiana, which keeps the cost of the product down, Graber explains. Cutting it with Colorado water, however, is important. “I’m proud,” he says. “It’s a real good whiskey, I wouldn’t stand behind something that wasn’t good.”

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Born Out Of The Ashes

In 1998, George Stranahans barn in Woody Creek, Colorado caught fire. George, owner of Flying Dog Brewery, was assisted in his extinguishing attempts by neighbor, and amateur whiskey maker, Jess Graber. When the two men realized there was nothing they could do to stop the blaze, they sat back and began talking. As luck would have it, Jess and George found common ground: a love of Colorados great outdoors and whiskey. With Jesses not-exactly-legal experimentations in the backwoods of Woody Creek, and Georges brewery, an idea was born. The two postulated that perhaps if they distilled some of Georges beer, they might come up with something unique.

Stranahans Distillery in Denver, CO / Photo Credit: Stranahans

The next six years were a flurry of activity. Jesse fought with the TTB to legalize distilling in Denver, specifically right next to Georges downtown Flying Dog Brewery. With the space next to the brewery open, Jess set up shop, piping in wash from the brewery through a skylight. On April 9, 2004 they filled the first barrel, vowing to leave it for a minimum of two years. In the early years, Jess shopped the whiskey around to local bars and liquor stores in his 1938 Chevy truck. The double clutch vehicle, once owned by John Wayne, still sits in front of the distillery today.

Defining American Single Malt Whiskey

Review: Stranahan

Rob and the ASMWC have their work cut out for them in establishing this category. Theyre starting to listen, Rob says of the TTB. It really starts at the ground level of on-premise accounts, the bars and restaurants, and educating them to create an American Single Malt category on their menu. I call that the foot soldier battle, and then we have our larger battle which is establishing this as a real category with the government.

The ASMWC defines American Single Malt Whiskey as such:

The whiskey must be made of 100% barley.

It should be distilled entirely at one distillery, mashed, distilled and matured in the United States of America

It should be matured in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 liters.

It should distilled to no more than 160 proof and bottled at 80 proof or more .

Stranahans Whiskeys / Photo Credit: Stranahans

The word about American Single Malt is spreading and it has gained legions of fans. Over the last 13 years, Stranahans has transitioned from a relatively unknown brand to one that people know internationally.

In the beginning no one knew we existed, says Rob. To see where weve come from with our humble beginnings, thats what is most impressive to me.

Thirsty for some more American Single Malt whiskeys?

With Distiller, youll always know whats in the bottle before you spend a cent. Rate, Review, and Discover spirits! Head on over to Distiller, or download the app for iOS and Android today!

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Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Has Been Sold To An East Coast Liquor Distributor

Jonathan ShikesDecember 28, 20104:30PM

Jess Graber, who co-founded the microdistillery with Aspen businessman George Stranahan in 2004, acknowledged today that New York-based Proximo Spirits has purchased Stranahan’s. He provided no other details.

“Proximo Distillers and Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey have joined forces to facilitate the growth of the Rocky Mountains best whiskey,” he wrote in a statement.

“Through combined efforts, Stranahan’s will be able to increase production, distribution, and marketing. Founder Jess Graber will continue working with the company to maintain quality control and as brand ambassador. We are all very excited about the new opportunities available to Stranahan’s.”

Whiskey Review: Stranahans Colorado Whiskey

I was spending a weekend in Denver, Colorado a couple months back and it seemed like around every corner was a bottle of Stranahans Colorado Whiskey. I remembered liking it, so when it started appearing on local billboards and store shelves I decided to grab a bottle and really put some thought into that notion.


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Stranahans Colorado Whiskey Review

The tale of Stanahans Colorado Whiskey goes something like this. George Stranahan had a barn that caught on fire. Jess Graber was a volunteer firefighter who responded to the fire. They decided to let it burn itself out and so while watching the fire they got to talking and discovered they both loved making alcohol. Stranahan beer and Garber was a fan of distilling.

After the fire George offered Jess his other barn to setup a still and distill some of his old beer in. A while after that George gave Jess a spot by his brewery and thats when Jess brought on Jake Norris to help with the distilling and they began distilling the Flying Dog four barley mash. In 2011 the brand was sold to Proximo spirits and the rest is history.

More Bad News At Stranahans Colorado Whiskey


UPDATE 2/1/12: Stranahans new Master Distiller Rob Dietrich dropped us a note in the comments below, ensuring us that all is well at Stranahans. We hope so! We were so impressed with Robs words, that we gave him his own post!

There are changes happening at Stranahans Colorado Whiskey, and Im afraid we may be witnessing the evisceration of a micro distillery pioneer. As I discussed before Stranahans had been acquired by Proximo Beverage, a huge multinational conglomerate that was promising to take Stranahans global . Not long after the two owners took a powder. Suppose they didnt like the new philosophies that a new owner brings to the scene. Well that was ok, at least they still had their Master Distiller. Afterall he is in charge of production, so who cares who owns the place, right?

Whiskey people dont like change, because change might end up cheapening or somehow making their favorite whiskeys worse for the wear. But one thing is certain, things are changing at Stranahans and it doesnt look too good right now. Lets hope Mr Dietrich knows his stuff, and Stranahans will continue to make Colorado and the Micro distillery movement proud.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.


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Stranahan’s Mountain Angel 10

As a one time only release in 2020, Stranahan’s released Mountain Angel 10-Year-Old whiskey. This was the brandâs oldest, rarest release to date. They say it is the first and only American single malt of its kind aged 10 years in new charred American oak casks with less than 500 bottles available at 47.3% ABV.

Whiskey Made In Denver

The two eventually became business partners and founded Stranahans Single Malt Whiskey that same year. The two created a unique recipe for a peculiarly smooth and flavorful single malt whiskey. Stranahans first batch of whiskey was distilled in that same year and then bottled in 2006.

It is said that the Stranahans jump-started the Colorado distilling industry, being the states first-ever micro-distillery.

Stranahans takes full advantage of its Rocky Mountain surroundings, as they use its waters as one of their whiskeys main ingredients. These whiskeys are hand-crafted in small batches only, to ensure every bottle represents the states spirit and ends up in the highest quality possible. The distillery manufactures only 3 whiskeys, one of which is available only a day of each year.

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Stranahan’s Blue Peak Whiskey

In 2020, Stranahanâs added Blue Peak to its line of Rocky Mountain whiskeys. In this process, they couple the high altitude distillation process and aging methods with a Solera finish, a maturation process typically used in wine, resulting in a rich and mellow whiskey. This is bottled at 43% ABV and is said the lowest-priced Stranahan’s introduced to date

About Our Snowflake Whiskey


Snowflake is the name of our rarest whiskey that is available during this one-day-only event. To create Snowflake, our Head Distiller finishes Stranahans American Single Malts in barrels that he discovers around the world, and meticulously blends them to create each unique Snowflake batch. The whiskey absorbs the rich flavors of the barrels procured from premium wine, sherry, cognac, rum & tequila distilleries to provide diverse flavor profiles that can be bold & spicy, rich & fruity, and always one-of-a-kind.

Because we were unable to release Snowflake in 2020, we will release TWO batches of Snowflake this year. Hear our Head Distiller, Owen Martin, introduce the Snowflake whiskey concepts for this years event on 12/4.

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Rocky Mountain Single Malt

Full-bodied as the fire that bore it, STRANAHANS® Whiskey glowed amber from the start. When volunteer firefighter Jess Graber responded to a neighbors barn fire down the road, he never imagined any good could come of it. The barn he made an effort to save belonged to George Stranahan, long-time spirits connoisseur. The two discovered a shared passion for the Colorado outdoors and a good pour of fine whiskey. And so, STRANAHANS Rocky Mountain Single Malt Whiskey was born.

Starting out in 2004 as the states first legal distillery, STRANAHANS forged the path for craft distilling in Colorado. Today, STRANAHANS maintains the same quality and standards for each batch, and is made in our Denver, Colorado distillery.

The Latest

More Companies To Know:

  • Anchor Distilling: Beyond the Old Potrero whiskeys and other spirits that Anchor Distillery produces, the company imports a wide range of spirits to the U.S. The list includes selections such as Tempus Fugit and Luxardo liqueurs, BarSol pisco, Kavalan and Nikka whiskies, and several Scotch brands.
  • Asahi Group: Asahi is a massive company, ranking No.698 on the Forbes Global 2000. However, it’s most prominently involved in the beer industry, as Asahi Breweries, along with soft drinks and food products. Asahi is the top selling beer in Japan, and the company also just made a nearly $3.5 billion offer to buy Peroni and Grolsch from SABMiller. Yet, as owners of Japanese whisky company Nikka, the smaller rival to Suntory, they deserve mention in a spirits discussion as well. Interestingly, Asahi’s rival on the Japanese beer front, Kirin Holdings, owns Four Roses Bourbon.
  • Constellation Brands: A mammoth wine company, Constellation also owns SVEDKA Vodka, and Black Velvet Canadian whisky.
  • : Formerly known as Belvédère, Marie Brizard owns William Peel, which is one of the largest blended Scotch whiskies, Sobieski vodka, and now the Marie Brizard lineup of liqueurs.
  • Mast-Jägermeister: Jägermeister.

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When Master Distiller Rob Dietrich Describes His Whiskey As Adventurous He Might Just Be Referring To Himself As Well

Dietrich also calls his spirit “original” and “a little bit outlaw” — displaying depth and embodying Colorado, he says.

Stranahan’s has a storied lineage: It’s Colorado’s first modern distillery, the maker of the state’s first whiskey — a product which has earned the company awards, recognition, and accolades over the years.

Holding a tasting glass close to his nose, Dietrich notes, in turn, aromas of cinnamon-butter, orange marmalade, marshmallow cream, and milk chocolate. “Half the enjoyment for me is sitting there ‘nosing’ a great whiskey,” he says. And, then, with mighty Colorado whiskey warming his tongue, he describes its flavors of citrus, white pepper, and caramel like a Werther’s Original candy.

Dietrich joined Stranahan’s in December of 2006. He’s the third master distiller in the company’s history, having assumed that title in 2011.

Before joining Stranahan’s, Dietrich, 44, served three combat tours with the 10th Mountain Division of the United States Army. Then he worked in music production for a decade, once going on tour with soul legend James Brown. And Dietrich managed Orvis Hot Springs in Ridgway, not far from where he grew up on Colorado’s Western Slope, often taking a pre-sunrise soak while plotting out his day’s maintenance chores over a cup of coffee.

Wearing a medical boot on his recovering right leg, Dietrich says adventures like that are integral to his work. If it makes him happy, he says with a smile, “It’s going to make the whiskey happy.”

Process Of Distilling Whiskey

Tasting Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey & Tin Cup Whiskey

Crafting whiskey shares a number of similarities with brewing beer, including mash made from grains, which are then fermented with yeast. At Stranahans, they begin with four exceptional barleys, all grown in the Rockies. Theyre combined with Rocky Mountain water and proprietary yeast.

This mash is then filtered and fermented in six days . Primary distillation begins in a combination pot and column . Its distilled a second time in a smaller copper pot to purify to high standards.

This double distilling reduces the fusil oils and other impurities for a smooth taste and less of a hangover. The whiskey is then aged in charred American white oak barrels which creates flavors of caramel and vanilla, and a lovely tan color. After 2-5 years its cut with Eldorado Springs water to lower the alcohol to 94 proof.

Lastly, its bottled and enjoyed, which you can sign up for to be part of the bottling crew its a lottery.

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Stranahans Snowflake Returns With Sunshine Peak Mount Eolus

Stranahans Colorado Whiskey recently announced the return of its annual Snowflake bottle, released after a year-long hiatus. In fact, this year for the first time, Stranahans will release two bottles, including Sunshine Peak, the 2020 batch that went unreleased, and Mount Eolus, the 2021 batch.

To celebrate the double release, Stranahans moved its celebratory event from the brands Colorado distillery to the iconic Red Rocks Parks & Amphitheatre for a one-day only event on Dec 4.

For each Snowflake expression, the Stranahans distillery team starts with Stranahans American single malts aged between four and eight years in new white American oak barrels with a #3 char. Its then transferred to a variety of wine, sherry, cognac, run and tequila barrels sourced from around the world.

Stranahans Snowflake 2021

Each years batch spends a varying amount of time in different barrels, so the flavor results change every year with their blending.

Batch 23, intended to be released in 2020, is named Sunshine Peak per Stranahans tradition for a 14er or a Colorado mountain peaking over 14,000 feet. The initial whiskey was finished in casks that once held apple brandies, including Calvados from Normandy and Applejack, as well as Moscatel and Cabernet wines. The resulting whiskey features a burst of brightness, like its name, with red wine notes layered throughout.

Distillers notes for Sunshine Peak:

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