Leopold Bros: A Unique Approach to Distillation
October 24, 2022 –––––– Aimee Heckel
Leopold Bros. is well-known for being a sustainable distillery (Scott studied environmental engineering at Stanford). The entire 35,000-square-foot facility—including the nation's largest traditional floor-malting room and Colorado's first and only malting floor—fills only one small trash can per week with waste. The distillery is also famed for its three-chamber still—the only of its kind in the world, built to make traditional, heavier-bodied rye whiskey. The three-chamber still was designed to extract the maximum oils and flavors from rye mash, but fell out of favor after World War II, when people began turning to lighter whiskeys. In 2021 the distillery released its own three-chamber rye whiskey.
But Leopold Bros. makes it all, from whiskey to absinthe to liqueur. In addition to its three-chamber rye, it also offers a 5 year old bottled in bond, pot-distilled bourbon. This distillery uses open fermentation with wooden fermenters (most larger shops use closed or stainless steel tank fermentation), as well as dunnage-style barrel storage. Barrels are placed on the earthen floor in the warehouse, which slows evaporation to about 4% a year and yields 20 to 30% more humidity. “We let Colorado do its thing,” says Todd. “I can't think of any other distilleries in the country that do that. We're a weird place.”
Drink This: Leopold Bros. Three Chamber Rye
88 points, 50% ABV, $200
Grain, red fruits, golden raisins, cherry, licorice, and peppery spice
Eat Here: Seven Grand Denver
Located in the LoDo neighborhood's Dairy Block, Seven Grand offers over 700 whiskies.
Stay Here: Kimpton Hotel Monaco
This pet friendly hotel offers complimentary yoga mats and bicycles, and serves Leopold Bros. whiskeys, among others.
Take a Side Trip: Meow Wolf, an interactive museum filled with colorful, creative art centered around a fictional story, also has locations in Santa Fe and Las Vegas. Denver's is called Convergence Station—an “intergalactic bus station.” Visitors can touch and play with the art exhibits, explore tunnels, find secret rooms, and wander through odd staircases and into a glowing indoor castle. It's like another world.