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 Archetype Distillery’s Michael Chapyak. Archetype Distillery was born from a passion for crafting one-of-a-kind, quality spirits. While bartending in New York and working in the healthcare industry, Michael decided he wanted a life change and moved to Colorado to begin his quest of owning and operating a bespoke distillery and social epicenter. After earning his Moonshine University certificates in Louisville, Ky., he enhanced his skill base through multiple distillation and fermentation certificate programs, on both a domestic and international level. He has also engaged with a number of gin distillers throughout the UK, gaining critical insights into historical and contemporary distilling techniques from the origination of modern gin.
Hops & Spirits: How did you get into the spirits/alcohol industry?
Michael Chapyak: “It’s in the blood” I’ve always said. When the central European side of my family came to the U.S. a couple of generations ago, they brought some old-world knowledge with them. This included making homemade spirits. We always enjoyed good spirits and cocktails and I continued this to professional bartender training/working and beyond!
HS: What was it like being a bartender in New York City?
MC: Crazy, in good and bad ways. Keeps you on your toes and head on a swivel, but you can go far in the right spots with the right people. Paraphrasing the old saying, if you can make it here, you’ve got a good chance you can make it wherever.
HS: How did you end up in Colorado?
MC: Traveling with my previous career let me be able to live and work in many places. In Colorado, I was down south, western slope, mountains, and front range. The mountains were always calling though.
HS: What pushed you to launch Archetype Distilling?
MC: Opportunity and desire for a change to do something I had visualized for a long time and was passionate about. When the time came, I jumped at the chance. Training, preparation, and excellent support made it happen.
HS: Why clear spirits – vodka and gin?
MC: They’ve always been my preferred choice of spirits.
HS: How does your process of producing from the free-run juice of wine grapes differ from others?
MC: It’s a little different in the production process, etc. Our raw material has the sugars needed for fermentation more readily available than using solid base materials like wheat or corn. This means we don’t have to “cook” the raw material to get it ready for fermentation and all that goes with that. Overall, the process is less detrimental to the physical systems, not having to use solids, especially with cleaning/maintenance!
HS: What’s in the name Archetype?
MC: Loosely “translated” it means the best model/situation/personality that has existed. Yes, a little cheeky, but we’re also proud of our premium spirits.
HS: You’re about to move from Denver to the Rockies, why? And what can folks expect with the move?
MC: As I shared, the mountains were always calling. Our initial facility was a good place to form and create a great product and method of operations. Establishing ourselves and flourishing in the mountains was always the dream and goal for both me and my business partner. People can expect our smooth, premium spirits and cocktails with an elevated experience in a world-class environment!
HS: What’s next/coming up from you all?
MC: We’re excited to be opening up our new facilities in the Vail Valley, a few new products premiering over the next few months, expanding our distribution capacity…
HS: Where can folks find Archetype spirits? Or get more information?
MC: Please visit our website Archetypedistilling.com for online purchasing of our Vodkas and Gins and for information on our upcoming adventures! We can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. You can also find onsite locations to purchase our spirits on our website, as well.