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1350 Distilling, a salute to the American spirit

September 3, 2019

Downtown Colorado Springs welcomes 1350 Distilling

by Katy Hartshorn, Downtown Partnership

Two local families, Phill and Kandis Bragg and Jake and Abbie Weien have been working to bring a new approach to craft cocktails and distilling in Downtown Colorado Springs. 1350 Distilling, located at 520 E. Pikes Peak Avenue, celebrates the American Spirit of our military and their loved ones. A VIP tasting for Downtown Partnership members at a recent Member Mixer poolside at 333 ECO Apartments was met with rave reviews. We sat down with the two couples to hear about the 1350 story.

Q&A with 1350 Distilling

The number 1350 has special significance to you. Why did you choose 1350 Distilling to represent your brand?

Each of us has a special respect for our country’s armed services. Phill Bragg served in the U.S. Marine Corps for 27 years. He completed four combat appointments in the Middle East during his service. Kandis served as a military wife and mother of their two girls. Jake was raised in military life; his father retired from the Air Force after 25 years of service, and his brother served in the Army. Although Abbie doesn’t have any immediate family that served, she has taught for eight years at Douglass Valley Elementary on the Air Force Academy. Her grandfather and great-uncle both served during World War II.

We wanted to honor the camaraderie, love of country, and the men and women who dedicate themselves to protect it. Each of us defines patriotism in a different way but for us, the Star-Spangled Banner was the one symbol that best represented both our differences and our similarities. Phill’s brother suggested “13 Stars, 50 Stripes” and we loved it.

Each of your products honors a branch of the military. Tell us a bit about each of these.

Each of our spirits represents a different branch of the Armed Forces. Our cocktails also will reflect the branch and the type of liquor used in it in a respectful but playful manner.

Minuteman Vodka represents our U.S. Army, utilizing the symbolic first group of men who pledged to raise arms in a “minute’s notice.” The Minuteman also represents the U.S. National Guard. This vodka is sourced from 100% Colorado-grown sugar beets, a rarity in the spirits world. Our gluten-free vodka has a distinct, sweet aroma, a flavor that sips nicely and makes a great dry martini.

Our Guardian Bourbon is sourced from a distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. It is a 3-year, 99% corn bourbon that we proof with fresh water from the Rocky Mountains. Here in Colorado Springs, we finish with local and distinctive tannins to create an easy-drinking and approachable whiskey that has been very well received. We pay homage to the U.S. Coast Guard with our bourbon. The recognizable bright orange that colors Coast Guard life vests adorns the wax-tipped bottles. The Guardian Bourbon makes a refreshing Old Fashioned and is even great neat or on ice.

We have just started to ferment our Bluejacket Rum, which represents the U.S. Navy. Every sailor is provided a copy of “The Bluejacket’s Handbook” upon entering the Navy. Our Louisiana-sourced molasses will make a sweet, light rum that we expect to have equal billing to our Minuteman and Guardian products.

STAY TUNED: Distillation of the Wingman Gin dedicated to our U.S. Air Force and the Leatherneck Whiskey for the Marines Corps will begin soon.

Pictured below: mural of armed services members hand-painted by the owners using a stencil created by locally-owned, Creative Consortium.

Tell us a bit about the menu (mixed drinks? flights? food?) and products (retail, tastings, etc.) you will offer.

Although we have what we believe to be the most beautiful bar in Colorado Springs, we are not a bar. We are a tasting room that serves only what we make as tasters and in cocktails. We will have weekly infused spirits with fresh ingredients. We offer non-alcoholic beverages too, including Rocky Mountain Soda and a local favorite, Pikes Peak Lemonade Company. Our tasting room was designed to feel like our living room with comfortable sofas, armchairs, and a fun, 22-foot-long shuffleboard that has resided in Colorado Springs for over 40 years. When the weather is nice, our guests can also lounge on our front patio and enjoy great views of Cheyenne Mountain, the Front Range, and Downtown Colorado Springs. We are excited to be easily accessible through Downtown’s eastern gateway, just across from Catalyst Campus on Pikes Peak Avenue.

Why did you choose to bring your business Downtown as opposed to other parts of the city? What does Downtown offer that is different and unique?

It was dumb luck, really. We never thought we could find a space large enough to house our distillery as well as the cocktail bar, lounge and patio that we had envisioned.  Downtown is the heart of the city, and visitors to the area are our ideal clientele. With the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum and now the Downtown Stadium, we want to be a part of this great vibe that only Downtown offers. We love that Downtown is centrally located between Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy, and Petersen Air Force Base too. 

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) provided a grant to improve the exterior of the building. Can you share a little bit about the history of this building and how the DDA grant helped you to realize the vision you had for your space?

The building was built in the early 1960s and started as a tire alignment shop. Since then, it has been a plumbing warehouse and home to Colorado Lighting. It was still a garage when we came in. We had to increase our interior construction budget considerably and feared we would not have enough remaining to do a good job of making the business inviting from the street.

Even before we signed our lease with our landlord, we approached DDA with our ideas of turning the simple cinder block and brick front of our building into something more attractive. We wanted to tear out the aged asphalt and put in patio so that our guests could enjoy our fantastic view of the Front Range. Colorado is notoriously sunny, so we realized that some sort of awning would be needed. The Shooks Run Trail connects to Downtown right across our front drive, so we wanted to have bike hitches too. The DDA grant helped us immensely with the conversion of our property from a garage into a great, comfortable and “homey” environment.

Your location on Pikes Peak Avenue is the eastern gateway to Downtown, which has seen significant growth recently with the expansion of Catalyst Campus, the opening of 333 ECO Apartments, a new Art on the Streets installation, new landscaping and a new residential project planned. As Downtown continues to grow and develop, what do you hope to see in the future?

We feel like we were just given a new front yard in a brand new community. We just watched the patch of land to the south of us renovated and new plants and trees installed. There will be impressive signage coming into the roundabout by us, too. There are several vacancies to the west of us right now, but we believe it will fill in fast with all of the new residences. We see a lot of growing and a lot of greatness for this Downtown eastern gateway.  

Where are your favorite places to go Downtown?

We love our Downtown! We enjoy getting out on First Fridays, Skate in the Park at Acacia Park each winter, and the Olympic kick-off events on Tejon are some of the best special events. As for shopping? Ladyfingers Letterpress and Terra Verde have been favorites of the Weien family. Mackenzie’s Chophouse is great, and all of us enjoy The Bench, Rasta Pasta, King Chef Diner and Pikes Peak Lemonade.

 

NOW OPEN! 

The tasting room at 1350 Distilling is now open to the public. Limited hours will begin September 8, with expanded hours to come.

September 8 & 9:

Saturday, Sept. 8: noon-8 pm

Sunday, Sept. 9: 2-6 pm

Sept. 13 onward during the opening rollout:

Friday: 3-10 pm,  Saturday: noon-10 pm & Sunday: 1-7 pm