News & Features

Happy Hour Q&A with Boulder Spirits’ Alastair Brogan

Welcome to our Happy Hour Question & Answer series, where we ask questions to interesting people in the alcohol world.

This week’s spotlight is on Boulder Spirits and owner Alastair Brogan. Alastair, originally from Scotland, is a Royal Air Force veteran, a “voted off” reality TV star and entrepreneur. Distilled at Vapor Distillery, Boulder’s oldest distillery, Boulder Spirits produces American single malt whiskey, bourbon, gin and vodka and features the largest copper pot still in the western United States. For more information, visit: or find them on social media: Facebook and Instagram.

Hops & Spirits: How did you get into the spirits/alcohol industry?
Alastair Brogan: I entered the industry chasing a dream, I suppose. I’ve always loved whiskey. And when given the good fortune to pursue this “hobby” idea of making it, I dove right into the deep end! After a brief bit of training at a distillery in Scotland, and a massive amount of advice from some industry friends, I took the plunge. I ordered a still and the timer to find a place to put it was on!

HS: What pushed you to launch Boulder Spirits?
AB: Our company started as a gin distillery, with no aspirations of making whiskey until I joined the company. So when we were ready to launch the whiskeys, it was time to reimagine what we were putting out, facing forward. With the whiskeys leading the charge, Boulder Spirits was born.

HS: Why did you decide on single malts?
AB: I never thought of anything else! There’s no such thing as ‘bourbon’ in Scotland, so as I was researching the ins and outs of making whiskey, the thought of using corn or wheat or rye never crossed my mind. It was always about single malt whiskey.

HS: How does Colorado’s climate impact whiskey making?
AB: Oh my. It’s probably the most impactful component to the flavor of our whiskey. Other distilleries use our same grain, other distilleries use our same yeast and still and barrels, even. But nobody does that combination in the climate of Colorado. And we believe the way our barrels breath in this air makes our whiskey taste that much different than if it were aged elsewhere.

HS: What was it like to see the Cask Strength Bourbon named a top 10 in 2022 by Fred Minnick?
AB: Unbelievable. Truly. We have confidence in our whiskeys, otherwise we wouldn’t put our name on them. But to be in the likes of those other nine American whiskeys… I don’t know what to say. Luck and skill work very well together.

HS: How do the single malts and straight bourbons you all produce differ? How are they similar?
AB: We say they’re more siblings than they are strangers. Even though they’re different whiskeys, they both get fermented in the same vessels with the same yeast, distilled in the same still, aged with the same barrels and for the same time, and proofed with the same water. Everything is the same. It’s a matter of 100% malted barley vs 51% corn, 5% rye, and 44% malted barley. So maybe half-siblings, I suppose. But that high amount of malted barley in the Bourbon is there for two reasons: we are an American single malt whiskey company that wants the bourbon drinker to understand the flavor of malted barley and I like it that way.

HS: You also make gin and ginskey, why have those products as well?
AB: We started as a gin distillery, with no hopes or ambitions of whiskey. I inherited (with glee!) those products and they are the true history of this company. All of the gins we produce have gone on to win rather major accolades on the global level. When I was searching for a partner in distilling in the US, I didn’t want just anyone. I wanted to know they were making quality spirit already.

HS: What’s next/coming up from you all?
AB: We’ve got a few special releases lined up for this year, some national releases, some distillery exclusive. Other than that, we’re trying to grow and visit as many markets with our distribution partners as we can. And of course continue to spread the good word of American Single Malt whiskey, too!

HS: Where can folks find Boulder Spirits?
AB: We are on store shelves in 16 US states, 8 countries in Europe, South Africa, and Canada. If you’re not in one of our distributed states, shipping via our website is available to an additional 26 states.

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