On a brisk January day in Colorado, locals, transplants, and tourists can be found enjoying all that this beautiful state has to offer. Michael Myers, the founder of Distillery 291, is no exception, and today you’re more likely to find him in the backcountry on one of his fulfilling 8-10 mile daily hikes.
Distillery 291 has earned a variety of high profile success with awards from Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible, local awards such as Breckenridge’s Still on the Hill, and even international awards from the World Whiskies Awards and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. This is quite the list, an abbreviated list at that, of the accolades and recognitions he and 291 have already received in just a few short years.
Michael has quickly distinguished himself as a veteran in the Colorado distillery market and there are no indications he’s slowing down now. 2018 marks the 7th anniversary year for Distillery 291, and with that comes the obvious plan of “making more whiskey”, more ambitiously is the goal of possibly tripling the production from last year. Of particular note in Distillery 291 productions is the 291E (E for Experimental) line, and Michael is anxiously awaiting the release of his first 100% single malt whiskey. This 291E single malt whiskey will be two years old when released and has been solely aged in 10 gallons used bourbon barrels.
With the Colorado spirits industry beginning to shape up like the microbrew industry, what does this business climate look like? Michael was kind enough to share some experiences and insight that he earned along the way.
- First off, ensure you have an in-depth business plan; this is essential to a variety of aspects from finance to growth and expansion.
- In the area of finance, be prepared to raise the right amount of seed money for your new venture…making whiskey is expensive!
- And finally, reflect on your life and experiences and embrace where the journey has taken you and your arrival to the now. Michael explained that the whiskey he makes today is thanks to the life and experiences he’s had and that the 25-year-old version of him would not be making the same whiskey.
Michael has found that while Distillery 291 has been mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding, he has never lost the love of what he’s doing. So whether it’s making whiskey or being featured in a new Indiegogo feature called The Whiskey Film; Michael has remained dedicated to maintaining the family side of his work-life balance and finds that he hasn’t worked a day since he embarked upon his newfound passion in whiskey.