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CRAFT CHARM The chic bar is sculpted from a locally sourced marble slab. 

Block Party

by Laurel Miller | Photos by Greg Didier | Aspen magazine | July 28, 2015

What’s green and white and chic all over? Carbondale’s new family-owned Marble Distilling Co., which opened in May. The environmentally focused 7,000-square-foot tasting room/inn/production facility on Main Street debuted with a signature vodka and two liqueurs. In addition to making these high-quality, small-batch spirits from Colorado grains and fruits, the owners wanted to build a facility as ecocentric as possible and honor the history of the nearby hamlet of Marble. Known for its yule quarry, the town has provided stone for the Lincoln Memorial, among other monuments. They’ve succeeded magnificently on all counts.

For starters, the distillery is one of Carbondale’s first commercial buildings to achieve the International Green Construction Code. It includes a system that recycles 100 percent of the water used during the distilling process while providing energy to heat and cool the building, and the use of reclaimed materials like beetle-kill pine, barnwood, brick and marble. All spent silage is donated to local farmers and ranchers (who use it as a high-protein feed supplement and compost/fertilizer).

A small tasting room boasts 14-foot windows, slate-blue leather couches and a view of the 250-gallon copper Vendome still. But the scene-stealer is the bar, locally crafted from a 9,000-pound slab of snowy, streaked marble. The flights—$8 for three generous pours of vodka and the liqueurs—are served on beguiling pale-mint-hued marble boards. Sipping calls for snacks; try the cheese or charcuterie boards ($20) catered by Carbondale restaurant Silo.

The Crystal River Vodka 80 ($33 per bottle), made with soft white wheat and barley from Alamosa, has a remarkably clean, pure flavor, thanks to the water from the namesake river that’s used in the final proofing down process. And crushed marble from the Yule quarry is used for all of the filtration because, explains distiller and co-owner Connie Baker, “it’s porous like charcoal but not as harsh.” We believe her, if the fragrant liqueurs ($35 per bottle)—Gingercello (ideal as a digestif, but equally compelling in the signature Marble-rita, $8) and rich, chocolatey Moonlight EXpresso (made with beans from local roaster Bonfire Coffee)—are any indication. 

Come fall, the distillery will introduce a rye, plus a barrel club with access to a private tasting room and plans to release a whiskey by the holidays (a bourbon is already in progress but must age for two years). Even locals will find it hard to resist a staycation in one of the five Euro-hip rooms (from $179), all with fireplaces and views of Mount Sopris (bonus: the inn is pet-friendly too). Hop on one of the complimentary cruiser bikes and hit the nearby Rio Grande Trail before pedaling back to town for dinner; a made-to-order nightcap in your room, or even on the rooftop patio, is the distillery’s version of minibar service.

Baker and her brother-in-law, Rob DiPangrazio, another co-owner, apprenticed at Washington state’s acclaimed Dry Fly Distilling and are committed to helping revive the tradition of craft products. “We really believe in the whole made-in-America, family-business approach,” says Baker. “Part of the advantage of being small is it will enable us to do a lot of different things and focus on seasonal fruit from the Western Slope.” For example, bring in apricots from your own tree this summer and take home a free bottle of apricot brandy this fall. Now that’s pretty sweet. 150 Main St., 970.963.7008