Steamboat Whiskey Co SnoCat Logo
A man is shown in a corn field reaching toward the top of a stalk of King Philip Corn.
Left image shows Steamboat Whiskey Co's dedicated distillers standing in front of distillery equipment as it is installed, and the right image shows bottles and behind-the-scenes experimentation at the distillery.

Our Process

Our daily working mission is to be a hub of creativity operating as a team to generate products that stand out, create excitement, and build brand loyalty. Everything at the distillery has been created beginning with small batches and a thoughtful process.

 

We have developed a distinctive portfolio of spirits crafted from high quality ingredients and mountain-born water. These products are made by hand, batch by batch, keeping an eye on traditional distilling practices while embracing unique and innovative product ideas, trends, and technologies.

Our Grains

Steamboat Whiskey Company incorporates some truly unique grains and methods into our Ski Town Whiskies. Our founder, Nathan, comes from a family of farmers who grow around 100,000 pounds of grain annually for our spirits.

 

These non-GMO grains include wheat, rye, barley, and, count them, FIVE varieties of corn: Yellow Dent, Sweet White, Blue Hopi, Bloody Butcher, and King Philip. Each of these varieties offers a unique flavor profile like sweet, nutty, or earthy. Our Straight Corn Whiskey, 45% Wheated Bourbon, and our 5 Grain Whiskey blends the corn varieties together making whiskies like no other.

Our Stills

Our main distilling system consists of three stills. A 300 gallon stripping still which separates the alcohol from the fermented wash. A 150 gallon finishing still which clarifies and purifies the separated alcohol into potable spirit. Our third still is a hybrid still which functions as a vapor path gin still with a spherical gin basket; a vodka still utilizing our 24 plate fractional column; and a rum still through the double retort system. Additionally we have numerous smaller experimental stills.

The Aging Process

Our barrels are housed a few miles from the distillery in a thin-walled rickhouse painted a dark color. The thin wall allows a great deal of air movement and the dark color attracts heat creating large temperature deltas.

 

These temperature variations throughout the day and throughout the year speed up and slow down the movement of the liquid in and out of the depths of the wood maturing the whiskey with complexity and richness.

Finishing Things Out

One day we fell into conversation about the perfect time to dump barrels. As some spiritous-traditions across the globe have utilized nature to enhance their liquors, it dawned on us that perhaps there was an optimal time—or rather temperature—to empty our barrels.

 

Ski Town Whiskey barrels are placed into a deep freeze before dumping. This has the effect of wringing out the barrel akin to a towel being twisted and squeezed leading to a depth of character unique to our products.

​Distilling Equipment at Steamboat Whiskey Company, Left to Right: Fermenter (Dolly Parton); Fractionating Column; Double Rum Retorts; Hybrid-Still (elevated); Spirits Still (with whiskey bell); Stripping Still (hidden except for the copper column); Mash tun. 
Barrels in Steamboat Whiskey Company's Rickhouse #1

The Distillery

Minnesota operations of Steamboat Whiskey Company show grinding and bagging grains for shipment to Colorado; grains being loaded out for Colorado.

Shown above, grinding and bagging grains for shipment to Colorado; grains being loaded out for Colorado.

Detailed images of King Philip and Blue Hopi corn varieties.

(top) Detailed images of King Philip and Blue Hopi Corn varieties; (bottom) King Philip corn is really tall!

The dedicated distillers, creative process and experimentation behind our beloved products.

Shown above, Rickhouse #1.

Left to Right: Fermenter (Dolly Parton); Fractionating Column; Double Rum Retorts; Hybrid-Still (elevated); Spirits Still (with whiskey bell); Stripping Still (hidden except for the copper column); Mash tun.