Vapor Distillery is going big time

Out with the old and in with the new

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Susan France

Boulder County lost one of its most highly decorated distilleries at the beginning of April, and that is a good thing.

Roundhouse Spirits, distilling since 2008, has ceased to exist due to naming rights for their products and overall company. But don’t despair, because in its place is Vapor Distillery, and things are about to get bigger and better.

“After we entered our Imperial Barrel Aged Gin in the Berlin International Spirits Festival we found out the name was trademarked by another distillery in Europe,” says Ted Palmer president and head distiller of Vapor/ Roundhouse. “As we dug deeper we found that our overall name ‘Roundhouse’ was also owned, so we realized that we needed to completely rebrand to avoid legal issues.”

So on April 1 of this year Roundhouse Spirits became Vapor Distillery, but that’s not all that has changed.

Vapor is currently undergoing a massive expansion at their distillery located off Western Avenue in east Boulder. Fresh off the grand opening of their expansive and eclectic tasting room last year, the distillery is installing the largest copper pot still in the state of Colorado — a 1,000-gallon behemoth. This will work in conjunction with their brand new 40-barrel brew house (spirits start life much like beer, so they can use the same equipment) to help them crank out 8,000 cases of gin per month, along with eight barrels of whiskey per week.

Yes, you read that correctly. After making a name for themselves with their excellent gins, tequila and liqueurs, Vapor is getting into the whiskey game in a big way. Makes sense as thirst for American whiskey has been growing at unprecedented rates — over $1 billion exported in 2013. Since Vapor is already exported to the European and Asian markets, whiskey is a logical addition to their offerings.

“Our Boulder Bourbon will be spicy with a heavy amount of rye used in the creation,” Palmer says. “Our first batch should hit the local market either this fall or next spring.”

In addition to their bourbon, Vapor is rolling out Prüf Vodka.

“The recipe is one I perfected back when I was a distiller at Santa Monica Distillery; it was one of our top sellers there,” says Palmer. “It is silky and smooth with a distinctive flavor.”

Several old favorites from the Roundhouse catalogue are being continued in the new company. Imperial Barrel Aged Gin — recently named best cask-aged gin in the world at the London International Spirits Competition — is now Ginsky Gin. Corretto Coffee Liquor is now Arrosta Coffee Liquor, Roundhouse Gin is now Rhok Gin and Pumpkin King Liquor will keep the same name.

Unfortunately, their Tanaka Agave Tequila is being discontinued as their focus turns to ramping up their whiskey operation. Plans call for a single malt whiskey and small batch whiskeys in the future.

So sometimes change can be a good thing. For Boulderites it looks like the demise of Roundhouse Spirits will usher in a new wave of excellent offerings from Ted Palmer and crew at Vapor Distillery.