Certain spirits conjure a sense of place. Although rum is made worldwide, it evokes images of tropical isles and azure seas. If Crested Butte’s Montanya Distillers is any indication, however, Colorado rum made with sustainable, traceable, North American ingredients is poised to change the way people think about what’s in their Mai Tai or mojito.

Most domestic rum distillers use imported sugar cane or molasses because they’re more cost-effective, but Montanya direct-purchases non-GMO sugar from Lula-Westfield, a 147-year-old family-owned and -operated company in Belle Rose, Louisiana. That sourcing ethos is but one of many differences between Montanya and other domestic distilleries, and that’s just how owner/ president Karen Hoskin and her husband and head distiller, Brice, want it.

“There’s no such thing as cheap rum—the real cost is paid somewhere,” says Karen. “If it’s not at the cash register, it’s charged to the environment, the sugar cane harvesters’ health, the water supply, air quality and energy consumption. For us, it’s about trying to do the best we can, every day.”