Recently I stopped into Feisty Spirits Distillery on a night when the tasting room was closed – dark and empty with only a few lights to illuminate the way. It was just me, my laptop, my microphone, and Jamie Gulden, owner and “head monkey,” as he claims on his business cards.
I’ve known Jamie for years through his work at Feisty Spirits. He had emailed me a press release last month to give me the heads up about their new Wild Thing Colorado Whiskey release they were doing.
“Want to be my first podcast interview?” I tried to convince him in my reply.
He was a great sport about it. Not a lot of people are comfortable in front of a camera, or a microphone for that matter. But we got set up at the bar to see how this first episode of free-flowing unscripted conversation would turn out.
He had arranged a whiskey tasting on the bar so we could go over the differences between the new Wild Thing Whiskey compared to his Better Days Bourbon. Their whiskey product names are heavily influenced by songs at this point. So, Wild Thing is indeed named after the classic rock song, and of course, Better Days was named after the song by local (now defunct) band, Fierce Bad Rabbit. It sounds like there are more local band naming opportunities in the future, which I think is really fun and cool.
He told me about the proper way to taste whiskey, which is exactly like wine. Except that you don’t spit the whiskey out like a wine tasting. I laughed because I don’t spit wine out and don’t know anyone who honestly does.
We sipped on Wild Thing, which is exceptionally smooth. I remarked on how I wasn’t much of a whiskey drinker, especially neat, but this was some fantastic whiskey that I could see myself sipping from a flask on a camping trip or at the end of a trail for a celebratory cheers. It was flavorful in its smoothness, allowing you to taste the sweetness from the grains they’ve been sourcing locally in Ault and Nunn – making it a real Colorado whiskey.
As we compared it to the strength of Better Days Bourbon, we talked about the best parts of living in Fort Collins. How Jamie has been here since his days at CSU, how south College is completely different now due to our rapid city growth, but how it still feels like a small town at times and that’s what keeps him here, along with the easy access to the mountains. We talked about the challenges of living in Fort Collins. How it’s hard to pay employees higher wages to keep up with the soaring living costs, how one of his employees had their rent increased by $300, and how difficult it is running a small business in our community. And then, we talked about bucket list experiences in Fort Collins. How a day in the mountains relaxing without the worries and stresses from work would be a dream for him, because he doesn’t have much free time to spare due to business ownership.
We talked for quite some time. He shared how if you really want to get a taste of what Feisty Spirits is about, then you need to visit the taproom where they have a selection of limited releases that aren’t in restaurants, bars, or liquor stores. They make a pretty creative cocktail in their taproom with those bottles. It was a great conversation that I couldn’t wait to edit and share as our first podcast episode.
And then the entire file got corrupted without any hope for resurrection. So, with a deep sigh and a shoulder shrug, I looked at Bill who tried his best to save the podcast and pointed out, “well, I can still write about it.”