Marble Distilling Co. in Carbondale is a friends and family affair: co-founders are husband and wife William “Carey” Shanks and Connie Baker — Connie serves as MDC’s Head Distiller — Carey’s sister, Dorian DiPangrazio runs The Distillery Inn alongside local friend Mandy Brennan. They are joined by Connie’s best friend and former business partner Michelle Marlow who heads up PR, marketing & special events.
Marble Distilling opened in the summer of 2015, and has stormed the sustainable spirits scene ever since. It all starts with locally-sourced and Colorado-grown grains which are used to make vodka, bourbon, whiskey, Gingercello (a modern adaptation of the Italian classic, made with fresh ginger), and Moonlight EXpresso (a complex, dark roasted coffee liqueur that blends locally-roasted Boxcar Guatemalan coffee beans and Ugandan vanilla beans).
Continuing the sustainable theme, all equipment is made in the USA and the building itself is 85% more efficient than local code requires. With help from several grants, the team designed and built the first award winning water energy, reuse and recycling system for a distillery. Using an integrated systems approach, the heat from the distilling process is used to heat the distillery, tasting room and a small inn (more on that later).
During the final stages of the distilling process, spirits cascade over a hand-made filtration system of crushed marble from the Yule Quarry in nearby Marble, Colorado (the business moniker was inspired by the hardworking pioneers who worked in the quarry). Finally, spent grains are given to local ranchers for livestock feed, closing the circle of sustainability. Did we mention they save enough energy to power 20 homes annually?
A sustainability geek could really nerd out in here, but before you get caught up in the numbers, belly up to the bar. A sleek tasting room, The Marble Bar, serves up artisan cocktails in a lively, laid-back atmosphere. For something light, try the Lydia: lavender-infused Marble vodka, Gingercello, club soda and fresh lemon. Or, ask for the Marble Flight to sample four signature spirits. The bar—sculpted from a nine-ton slab of Yule Quarry marble—is a mammoth design centerpiece, and window shoppers can take a peep at “Hazel,” the 250-gallon custom Vendome copper pot still, while strolling down Main Street.
There’s entertainment, too: on any given night you might find live music, trivia, comedy or karaoke. A small menu offers tasting boards with locally-sourced meat and cheeses. And if you ask nicely and they’re not too busy, the friendly staff is always happy to give a quick tour, showing off their setup like proud parents would an overachieving child.
As if all this weren’t enough, this distillery doubles as a boutique hotel—the first known to be located within a working distillery. Five plush rooms, including one ADA accessible suite with a courtyard and indoor/outdoor fireplace, ooze effortless luxury (though, of course, rooms are every bit as thoughtfully and efficiently designed as the distillery). All rooms provide postcard-worthy views of Mt. Sopris. And the cherry on the sundae? You can even bring your fur friend along. Not only is Fido welcome, he’ll get his own signature dog bed, food and water bowls and a special treat.
Each room is outfitted with hand-selected sustainable materials, sophisticated finishes, Italian linens, a fireplace, cozy robes and slippers, and organic bath products. Guests can walk to nearby restaurants or hop on one of the distillery’s town-cruiser bikes to check out the town on two wheels.
Next time you’re in the mood for cocktails or an Instagram-worthy staycation, check out Carbondale’s Marble Distilling. It’ll give you a new perspective about drinking sustainably.
-Davina van Buren