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by Courtney Llewellyn

“When I was just starting to drink, I discovered I couldn’t drink beer, or tequila, or vodka. I had this whole experience of what I couldn’t drink,” Karen Hoskin recalled, laughing. “And then I’m in India, and I’m on the beach and I’m bummed because I’m living with this Hindu family and they don’t drink at all. I had a bartender put some rum in front of me and I thought ‘Yes, more of that.’”

And so began Hoskin’s deep dive into the world of rum.

Hoskin is the co-founder and co-owner of Montanya Distillers, alongside her husband Brice. She is also the company’s CEO. Located high in the mountains in Crested Butte, CO, almost 9,000 feet above sea level – about as far from India and the sugar cane needed for rum as one can get – is their distillery, bar and restaurant. Hoskin is adamant the altitude positively affects the fermenting, distilling and aging of the rum. It must have some benefits, as today Montanya produces more than 52,000 bottles a year, selling their rum in 42 states and across seven countries.

Over 30 years of drinking rum, Hoskin said she’s really come to love the spirit – and that was the impetus for starting her own distillery.

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