If you are a fan of bourbon, it is likely that you’ve heard of High West Distillery. They are known for the limited and sought after Mid-Winter Dram among many other top shelf blends. When people think of Utah, many think of Mormons – a group that does not allow members to drink alcohol. It may be strange to some, then, that the High West Distillery would be located here. Originally made popular as a mining town in the 1800’s, Park City would become ghost town in the 1950’s once mining operations ceased. Since then it’s flourished as a destination for winter sports, hosted an edition of the Winter Olympics, and become the annual home to the Sundance Film Festival, among many other activities and accolades.
While in Kentucky visiting a distillery, David Perkins had an “aha” moment upon seeing the similarities between distilling and what he’d learned during his career as a biochemist. With his family, he promptly moved to Park City and began taking the steps necessary to open their own distillery. Prior to The Perkins’ seeking the proper papers, nobody had been granted a license to distill in Utah since 1870. Their time and work paid off, resulting in the license being granted in 2006. On the grounds of a local historic livery stable and garage, High West opened its doors with little more than a 250-gallon still and a simple saloon. Just 7 years later, High West is an Award-Winning brand recognized by enthusiasts and experts around the world.
I have personally taken the distillery tour with my wife and long time friends. As we arrived at the Wanship, Utah facility, there was a beautiful lounge area to wait for the bus that quickly came to drive us up to the distillery from the parking lot. The tours take guests through nearly every area of this state of the art operation. Visitors get to see and learn about blending, aging and bottling operations.
The tour takes about 45 minutes, but it’s definitely worth your time. I recommend having lunch on-site before the tour. They have an amazing staff and chef. We enjoyed our meal and had a few drinks before the tour began. A general store also operates at the distillery so you don’t miss out on your favorite high west items before or after seeing how everything works. After your tour is completed, you will be able to order a flight of different bourbons and get details about how to experience the full flavor of the drink by their well trained and experienced staff.
The Saloon is located in Park City and also includes a general store where special, limited edition offerings can be purchased alongside their regular production counterparts. Visitors can buy other items such as glasses, metal posters, and other branded collectibles. Events are also hosted here, like pre-release parties for small batch projects. For those seeking a more intimate dining experience than the restaurant at The Saloon provides, the cottage next door features a chef that creates a specially prepared meal for each guest. Make sure to reserve a table since space is limited.
For those who want to bring the experience of the Saloon home with them, High West offers membership in the Saloon Society. The society is a wonderful club to join if you love limited release rare bottles. Members have access to Mid-Winter Dram and other limited bottles, receiving four shipments each year of 4 bottles per shipment. In total, there are just 300 spots, so availability is limited. The primary caveat is that they only ship to Alaska, Kentucky, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Washington, DC.