I first met the crew at Dancing Pines Distillery when they were sampling their spirits at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. We bonded over their delectable spiced rum, and the fact that we are all from Colorado.
Dancing Pines Distillery is the only distillery in Loveland, Colorado. Owners Kristian and Kimberly Naslund found themselves frustrated with home repairs to their mountain cabin, and one evening they looked outside to see pine trees weighed down with snow but still swaying in the wind. It looked like they were dancing to the music that the Naslunds were playing. Kimberly wrote a song for Kristian about this moment to remind them both to find serenity in humor during stressful times.
“We wanted to choose a name that meant something to us, so we chose it from a line in [the] song,” says Kristian.
Kristian was a paramedic firefighter before he became a distiller. The shift, says the distillery website, came when he realized he needed a little more humor and serenity, and a little less stress.
Kristian and Kimberly opened the distillery in the fall of 2010, and have spent the last two years making brandy, bourbon, gin, whiskey and rum. Their rum is infused with vanilla bean and cinnamon to make their Spice variety, and aged in charred oak barrels to make their Cask variety.
“We learned to appreciate rum when my dad introduced me to Cuban rums,” says Kristian. “But the United States has a rich history of rum distilleries in New England. Most rum consumed during the frontier days or in mining towns in Colorado would have been rum produced in New England.”
Kristian’s deep knowledge of rum culture, and spirits culture in general, comes from his passion for travel. He says wherever he goes, he makes a point to check out what it made by local spirits companies to get a sense of the culture. “I found a 3-liter pot still while on a trip through Spain,” he says, “which got me really passionate about making spirits.”
I’m sure glad about that little 3-liter still. It’s the reason I have such fine spirits in my backyard.
Spirits by Dancing Pines:
Cherry Tart Liqueur