High Spirits

Take a Tour of Marble Distilling Company (and Spend the Night While You're at It)

After a year in business, the contemporary craft spirits factory has grown into a go-to weekend getaway for urban hipsters.

By Julie Comins July 1, 2015 Published in the Midsummer/Fall 2015 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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The marble distilling company and Distillery Inn (MDC) on Main Street in Carbondale brings a modernist shot in the arm to the fringe of the town’s historic commercial core. With its clean and simple lines, silver-shingled tower, and slate-gray siding, the structure has an urban hipster vibe that reads more LoDo than Bonedale. But thanks to a deep reverence for place and an unwavering commitment to sustainability on the part of the owners and design team, the facility is, in actuality, a celebration of all things local. 

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The visionary behind the unique pairing of distillery and inn is longtime local and Marble resident Connie Baker, who, along with her business partner and brother-in-law, Robert DiPangrazio, has for several years pursued an interest in distilling. (Both Baker and DiPangrazio are graduates of the Fly Distilling Institute in Spokane, Washington.)

Meanwhile, as the owner of a Carbondale-based national pharmaceutical marketing company, Baker says for years she watched out-of-town clients come to her office for meetings then disappear up to Aspen in search of tonier lodging and hospitality options. She identified a need for a luxury boutique hotel to complement Carbondale’s outstanding dining, arts, and recreation offerings. And so the artisan distillery and boutique inn concept was born.

To make that vision a reality, Baker enlisted the support of Jeff Dickinson and Angela Loughry, independent Carbondale architects with extensive experience in sustainable design who teamed up for the project. One of their chief technical challenges was how to handle the intense heat generated by the distilling equipment, while ensuring the space would be safe and comfortable for guests in the facility’s five lodging rooms.

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With the help of a $25,000 grant from the Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE), they created an innovative energy-capture system that Baker has dubbed WETS—Water and Energy Thermal System—which she hopes will become a model for other distilleries. WETS is anticipated to save 1.2 million gallons of water each year, making it the most energy-efficient distillery in the U.S., if not the world, according to Dickinson.

Among the building’s more striking exterior features is the east side tower that houses “Hazel,” MDC’s affectionately named, 250-gallon copper still that transforms locally grown potatoes and grains into MDC’s signature vodkas, whiskeys, and liqueurs. The adjacent street-level tasting room is notable for its sixteen-foot bar of solid marble mined from the nearby Yule Marble Quarry (which famously supplied the marble for the Lincoln Memorial). The red brick wall at the back of the bar was salvaged from a historic horse stable that formerly stood on the property. Not only does it add warmth and charm to the room’s contemporary styling, but it also serves as a tribute to the site’s ranching past.

The enclosed courtyard outside the tasting room is such an inviting space it practically sucks passersby in off the street. The courtyard’s west wall is a beautiful marble patchwork constructed from stones Baker’s friends and neighbors contributed to the project. The wall echoes one built decades ago by quarry workers in the woods surrounding Marble. For all of its big-city flourishes and innovative design, the newest addition to downtown Carbondale never loses sight of its humble roots.

Marble Distilling Co. and The Distillery Inn
Rates from $260, with the thrid night half off when booking two consecutive nights during the month of November.

150 Main St., Carbondale, 970-963-7008, marbledistilling.com



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