Ruminating on Rum: Reflections on a Decade of Montanya Distillers

Born out of Silverton, Colorado, the craft product has evolved and grown

Ten years ago this month in the tiny Colorado town of Silverton, in an 800-square-foot stone building that played host to a brothel 100 year prior, Karen and Brice Hoskin hatched an idea to start a craft rum distillery called Montanya Distillers.

Their concept fit no existing paradigm.

There were few craft distilleries in existence in the U.S., and only one or two were specializing in rum. The staff had to climb over aging barrels to reach their bottling line because space was so tight. Their warehouse was a box truck that never liked to start, parked on the street with a padlock protecting their stock. The Hoskins called the truck The Bank Account because between the aging barrels, the bottled rum and the truck, you could see all of their life savings right in front of you.

In their first year of operation, Karen Hoskin would load up her Toyota Tacoma with as many cases of rum as she could fit and still safely drive. She would leave the distillery and wouldn't return home until she sold every case.

The fermentation room had dirt floors and required the team and visitors to duck in order to walk under the low hanging ceiling. Their copper Alembic still was named Bella and the bottle filler was named Helga, referred to in conversation as though they were core members of the team. Three people did everything; two were women, which was exceedingly rare in the distilling industry a decade ago.

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