(Lyons, Colorado) – Spirit Hound Distillers -- Lyons, Colorado’s first distillery -- is now digging out from the recent floods that hit Lyons and much of northern and eastern Colorado.
“Like everyone else in Lyons, we’ve been rocked by the flooding,” says co-founder Matt Rooney. “But we’re grateful to be alive and have our loved ones with us”
The distillery is located just a few feet from the typically tranquil St. Vrain River, which record rains turned into a raging river of destruction on September 11.
“We have major cleaning to do,” says Rooney, who has been mucking out the Spirit Hound facility with co-founders Wayne Anderson, Craig Engelhorn and Neil Sullivan, all residents of Lyons.
“But we’re glad to report that most of our whisky barrels are fine and survived the flood, “he says. “Though we need a new steam boiler for the brewery, and all of our drywall was ruined and needs to be torn out and rebuilt. But we’re working around the clock to get open as soon as possible.”
Distiller Craig Engelhorn was stranded in the Spirit Hound distillery when the flood hit. He had decided to sleep in the distillery’s second floor lounge area on the night of September 11, and woke the next morning to a building filled with water and floating chairs and equipment.
The distillery was also surrounded with water and floating debris, everything from construction trailers and pieces of destroyed homes to felled trees and utility poles. “I though about trying to step out into the water,” Engelhorn recalled, “but when I saw a landscaping tractor float by like a fishing bobber, I decided to stay put.”
Wayne Anderson weathered the flood in Lyons with his family. He has also been working to clean out the flooded distillery as well as his flooded home and the Lyons Fork restaurant which he and his wife Debbie Anderson own.
“You could have caught fish in our distillery tasting room during the flood,” he notes, “the water was more than two feet deep inside.”
New landscaping behind the distillery and facing the St. Vrain River was almost complete before the flood hit. “Momma Nature decided to redesign what we did back there,” Rooney says, “so we’re going to work with what she did and rebuild it with her preferences in mind.”
Spirit Hound’s one-year anniversary party, which had been set for early October, has been postponed along with all other distillery plans for the next few months.
“We don’t have any timelines yet,” Rooney says,”but we’ll get the word out as soon as we can. And we want to thank all of the brewers, distillers, customers and fans who have reached out to help us. You have put a ton of warmth and inspiration in our hearts, and we’ll rebuild this place for all of you.”