The Sopris Sun

Marble Distilling shoots for February opening

Going really green

John Colson

Sopris Sun Correspondent

The Marble Distilling building at 150 Main St. may appear almost finished, at least when viewed from the street, but as co-owner Connie Baker ruefully told the Sopris Sun recently, “We’re delayed, for sure.”

Problems with everything from the delivery of concrete to delays in the manufacturing of the tanks for the distillery’s eco-friendly and ground-breaking WETS, or “water-energy thermal storage” reclamation system, have resulted in sufficient tardiness that “we are shooting for the end of February right now.”

She had initially hoped for a December completion date back in June, when construction had only just begun.

The delays, she continued, were due to “typical construction stuff, nothing major,” such as engineering complexities with regard to the WETS system, which was designed and developed with the help of a $25,000 grant from the Community Office of Resource Efficiency (CORE).

“We’re going to reclaim 100 percent of the processed water we use,” she explained. “The only water that will actually be consumed will be what goes into our product,” which is to be mainly vodka and whisky.

The design of the WETS system, Baker said, has been patented and already has been shared with other “boutique distilleries,” and she plans to take it to distillery trade shows in order to show it off to even more potential users.

“We’ll be saving $14,000 per year on water usage bills,” she continued enthusiastically, “ and about $13,000 in energy costs,” by using a heat-transfer system that will exploit the energy content of the reclaimed water for heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.

“It is probably the greenest building in Carbondale,” Baker said proudly. “It totally belongs in Carbondale, because Carbondale is so green.”

But, she admitted, the WETS tanks are still being completed by a manufacturer in Montrose, thought she had expected delivery at least a couple of weeks ago.

Also held up are the stills and mash tuns (tanks) used in the distilling process, she said.

On the bright side, Baker said she has obtained all the necessary federal and state permits for the distillery.

The building itself is nowhere near completion, including the facilities of the “Distillery Inn,” which contains five rooms for guests to stay in (four upstairs and one downstairs), according to Baker’s partner and brother in law, Rob DiPangrazio, who also lives in Carbondale.

“We don’t even have the drywall up yet (in the guest rooms),” DiPangrazio said on Tuesday during a phone interview with The Sopris Sun. “There’s so much mechanical and plumbing related to the distillery, that we can’t close the walls in.”

Both Baker and DiPangrazio expressed disappointment that the business will not be open for the Christmas holiday season, and that it probably will not be operating in time for the Presidents Day weekend in early February, which was another target completion date that Baker said is not likely to be met.

But DiPangrazio noted that the main still is expected to arrive soon after Christmas, and said the town has been approached for a temporary certificate of occupancy to at least begin the process of making vodka and other beverages before the building is entirely finished.

“We may be able to start distilling at the end of January,” he said hopefully.