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Travel Log: Stranahan’s Snowflake Festival in Denver, Colorado

Stranahan's Snowflake Festival

Stranahan’s Distillery in Denver, Colorado. (Images via Stranahan’s)

During the first weekend of December, I took a trip to Denver, Colorado to visit Stranahan’s Distillery for the latest launch of the brand’s highly anticipated annual release, Snowflake.

I went into the trip thinking that it would be like any other run-of-the-mill business trip, and the high would be watching “The Office” in my hotel room without being interrupted by my four kids, but I could not have been more wrong.

The first evening, Stranahan’s Distillery welcomed guests with live music and a tasting over dinner. From the moment I walked into Stranahan’s Distillery, I felt like I’d been transported into an episode of “Yellowstone.”

Jess Graber, co-founder of Stranahan’s Whiskey, is pictured on the left. The distillery’s dinner set-up can be seen on the right.

Much of that is thanks to Stranahan’s co-founder, Jess Graber, who wore a big, black cowboy hat almost the entire time. It is clear the warm western atmosphere was an ode to the man himself. After the dinner and tasting was an afterparty in the rackhouse, where people mingled and continued tasting different whiskeys.

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The afterparty held in one of Stranahan’s rackhouses.

However, outside of the building was where the real party was happening, as hundreds of people camped out to get their hands on a bottle of the coveted Snowflake #25 Humboldt Peak. Each year, Stranahan’s puts on an entire festival for its “Strana-fans,” complete with fire pits, food trucks and live music, making the distillery grounds feel more like a whiskey Woodstock as opposed to a place of business.

Campers outside of the distillery hope to be first in line to get a bottle of Snowflake.

Snowflake #25 Humboldt Peak Launch Day

Launch day began bright and early, when I arrived at the distillery at 8 a.m. to a party already in full swing. In a huge white tent, Graber and The Highway 82 Band played along with whiskey tastings and coffee until I was whisked away to participate in a distillery tour.

Outside of the distillery the morning of the launch.

If you ever get the chance to tour the Stranahan’s distillery, jump at the chance. The tour was so much more than informational and was led by the most dynamic guide, Jason Levinson, who is a whiskey educator with Proximo Spirits, which owns Stranahan’s.

Jason Levinson, whiskey category educator, Proximo Spirits.

However, the most exciting part of the experience was seeing the fans as Snowflake #25 Humboldt Peak dropped. I was even yelled at by consumers who felt I was cutting the line to get to a different part of the building, but that shows how passionate the fanbase is about the product.

Frankly, there were more Strana-fans lined up to get their hands on a bottle than there were bottles of Snowflake to go around, and the energy was palpable. I can only describe it as being akin to Swifties waiting to get tickets for the Eras Tour.

“Strana-fans” excitedly showing their bottles of Snowflake after purchasing.

Ultimately, the best thing I can say about the Stranahan’s Snowflake Festival is that if you like whiskey at all, buy a plane ticket, pack a bag and get to Denver, even if it’s just to get a drink at the distillery’s bar. But if you can get to the Snowflake Festival next December, it will be some of the most fun you may (or may not) remember.

About Stranahan’s Snowflake Festival

Stranahan’s Snowflake #25 Humbodlt Peak.

Stranahan’s annual Snowflake Festival is a weekend-long event on the distillery grounds, where guests can camp out to be able to purchase a bottle of the highly coveted Snowflake American Single Malt that is only available at the distillery while supplies last. This year, the bottle sold out within hours.

To learn more about this year’s expression, Snowflake Humboldt Peak, click here.

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Madison Kopta is an editor at Whiskey Raiders. As a Northern California native and mom of four, Madison spends much of her time enjoying the great outdoors with her family. From camping to keeping an eagle eye out for Bigfoot, you can find Madison in nature, enjoying a glass of whiskey with her husband.