Beehive Distilling

Barrel-Aged Gin in Salt Lake City, UT

Beehive Distilling captures Utah’s fresh buzz in small-batch spirits crafted by ski-loving cocktail connoisseurs.

Beehive’s lead distiller Chris Barlow checks on gin that has been aging in barrels. Beehive distills only 300 liters at a time, and each step of the process is very hands-on.  Courtesy Beehive Distilling

Beehive’s lead distiller Chris Barlow checks on gin that has been aging in barrels. Beehive distills only 300 liters at a time, and each step of the process is very hands-on. Courtesy Beehive Distilling

French Oak barrels previously used to cask wine (often chardonnay) are flame-charred with a tiger torch before being used to age gin.  Courtesy Beehive Distilling

French Oak barrels previously used to cask wine (often chardonnay) are flame-charred with a tiger torch before being used to age gin. Courtesy Beehive Distilling

Utah’s food and drink scene is happening—but most of the regional craft distillery attention goes to High West, which opened its doors in Park City in 2006, becoming Utah’s first legal distiller since 1870. So when we first sipped Beehive Distilling’s gin over dinner in downtown Salt Lake City after a superb day of skiing at Alta, we knew we had stumbled upon a discovery we had to share.

Beehive’s trio of skiing, mountain biking, cocktail-loving founders secured their distilling license in August 2013, becoming Utah’s first legal gin-makers since that same 1870 distilling cut-off. 143 years is a long time to go without a great martini—but Beehive’s meticulous, small-batch process makes every sip seem worth the wait.

Jack Rabbit Gin is infused with Albanian juniper, fresh Utah sage, rose petals, iris flower root, coriander, grains of paradise and lemon zest. Beehive’s exceptional Barrel Reserve Gin is aged for nine months in French Oak chardonnay barrels that first have been flame-charred on the interior for a smoky flavor finish. The resulting amber-hued gin is balanced yet sultry, and as good in cocktails as it is sipped alone. Beehive’s newer Organic Vodka is clean and smooth, with the clarity of Wasatch Mountain water.

The distillery currently offers no tours or tastings, but its website lists restaurants, bars and liquor stores throughout Utah’s ski country (and beyond) where you can taste Beehive’s nectar. It’s definitely one those finds that makes an already great ski trip to Utah even better. www.beehivedistilling.com

The Utah ski buzz (at Brighton).  Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

The Utah ski buzz (at Brighton). Courtesy Visit Salt Lake

The Utah après-ski buzz (with a Beehive Barrel Reserve Gin Old Fashioned).  Courtesy Beehive Distilling

The Utah après-ski buzz (with a Beehive Barrel Reserve Gin Old Fashioned). Courtesy Beehive Distilling