Still on the Hill Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival hosts events beginning Oct. 21 |

Still on the Hill Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival hosts events beginning Oct. 21

Heather Jarvis
Events begin for the Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival on Friday, Oct. 21 and run through the weekend, with the Still on the Hill Grand Tasting Event on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 4–7 p.m.
Arthur Balluff / Breckenridge Tourism Office |


What: Still on the Hill Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival

When: Events run Friday, Oct. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 23; grand tasting is Saturday, Oct. 22

Where: Various establishments in Breckenridge


Friday, Oct. 21

Preston Ghost Town & Gold Mine Tour: 10 a.m., $30 for adults, $10 for kids ages 4-12, free for kids ages 3 & under (lunch included). Make reservations by Thursday evening, weather dependent. Call (970) 453-9767 ext. 2.

Behind Swinging Doors Historic Saloon Tour: This walking tour highlights the historic brewing, distilling and saloon features of Breckenridge’s mining heritage, hosted by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance. Departs at the Breckenridge Welcome Center in the Blue River Plaza at 5 p.m. Must be 21 or older. $15. Reservations: (970) 453-9767 ext. 2.

The Women of Distilling Workshop: Join moderator Amanda Faison, food editor of 5280 Magazine, and her panel to see what these talented and creative women are doing in the distilling industry; 4-5 p.m. at Napper Tandys (upstairs in the Salt Creek Steakhouse). No charge.

Tombstone Tour at Twilight: Tour Breckenridge’s historic Cemetery. $15 adults, $10 kids ages 4-12. Kids 3 and under free. Tour begins at 5 p.m. Reservations: (970) 453-9767 ext. 2.

Shot Glass Decorating: Create your own personalized shot glasses; 6-8 p.m. at the Ceramic Studio, 125 S. Ridge St. in the Breckenridge Arts District. $5, includes all materials, first to come, first to get creative. Questions call (970) 453-3364 or visit

Seventh Annual Poker Run & Bar Mix-Off : 5 p.m. to close. Contestants will draw playing cards at their stops and then present their best five-card hand the following day at the Poker Showdown to be held at the Still on the Hill Grand Tasting.

Saturday, Oct. 22

French Gulch Snowshoe Hike: 10 a.m., $20 for adults, $15 for kids ages 4-12. Make reservations by Friday evening; weather dependent. (970) 453-9767 x 2

Breckenridge Historic Walking Tour: 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Breckenridge Welcome Center; Discover the treasures of Breckenridge’s National Historic District. $10 per person.

SOLD OUT: Spirited Cooking at Colorado Mountain College

Still on the Hill Grand Tasting: Riverwalk Center, 4-7 p.m.; You must be 21 years old to enter. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 day of, if not sold out. Proceeds benefit the Community Partners of the Breckenridge Restaurant Association. Park at the Riverwalk Center/Tiger Dredge lot. Free shuttles available from 12:30–4 p.m. with Summit Express from the Riverwalk Center to the Breckenridge Distillery Open House and the CMC Spirited Cooking Class. Go to for tickets.

Breckenridge Haunted Tour: 7:30 p.m. Haunted sites of historic Breckenridge. $15 for adults, $10 for kids ages 4-12. Free for kids ages 3 & under. (970) 453-9767 ext. 2.

Gold Pan Saloon After Party: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.; no charge. Featuring bluegrass by the Honey Gitters. Gold Pan Saloon, 103 N. Main St.

Sunday, Oct. 23

Bloody Sunday Hangover Brunch: Various restaurants around town will be featuring craft-spirit cocktails and brunch menus with many football viewing options. Participating bars/restaurants: Apres Handcrafted Libations, Burke & Riley’s, The Canteen, CB. & Potts Restaurant and Tavern, Downstairs at Eric’s, The Dredge, Empire Burger, Fatty’s, Giampietro, Gold Pan, Jake’s, Kenosha, La Francaise, Luigi’s, Mi Casa, Ollie’s Pub, Park & Main and Salt Creek Steakhouse.

Breckenridge Historic Walking Tour: Discover the treasures of Breckenridge’s National Historic District. Welcome Center, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. $10 per person.

The Art of Tasting Spirits Workshop: Learn how to distinguish flavors and enliven your palate to the wondrous subtleties present in today’s spirits. Learn from this panel of experts. 11 a.m. to noon at Mi Casa. No charge.

When the Still on the Hill Breckenridge Craft Spirits Festival was created, the town’s local distillery was still in its infancy. With hopes of bringing more awareness to the craft spirits movement — as well bring more off-season business to the town — the festival was a way to shine a light on Breckenridge Distillery. Now, the festival is in its seventh year and the distillery has become a dominant player in the industry. From its beginnings making only bourbon and vodka and hosting guests in a small tasting room, it now distributes 12 or 13 different year-round products to 45-plus states with plans to go international by the end of the year, according to Grace Gabree, marketing coordinator for Breckenridge Distillery. It also has a brand-new restaurant and bar currently in the works, with production expansion plans in place.

Not only has the distillery grown exponentially since the inception of Still on the Hill, so has the event itself. The first year attracted around 10 distilleries, and now the grand tasting is at capacity in the Riverwalk Center with 36 distilleries, said Corry Mihm with the Breckenridge Restaurant Association, the organization that hosts the festival. Events begin Friday, Oct. 21, and run through the weekend, with the Still on the Hill Grand Tasting on Saturday, Oct. 22, from 4–7 p.m. The main event of the weekend, the 36 distilleries will offer tastings of spirits, with some creating craft cocktails from featured liquors. Tickets are $40 in advance, and Mihm said organizers expect the tasting to sell out. Go to for tickets.

“The thing that’s unique about it is the interaction with the distillers themselves,” Mihm said. “All of these people have really neat stories — how they got their recipes, or the things they’re trying.”

The distillers are mainly from Colorado, featuring companies like 808 Distillery from Eagle, Black Canyon Distillery from Longmont, Deerhammer Distilling Company from Buena Vista, Peach Street Distillers from Palisade and many more.

“The public really enjoys getting to meet all the different distillers and finding out what’s going on in the industry, things that are trending and what’s different about the products,” Mihm said. “Because Breckenridge is relatively small — we are not some huge monstrosity — it’s not like Denver, where it would be hard to get that intimate feel.”


Watch for Breckenridge Distillery’s mixologist, Billie Keithley, around town as she can usually be spotted over the weekend guest-bartending for Still on the Hill ancillary events, Gabree said. At the grand tasting, the distillery will be offering samples of its products, as well as bourbon-based and vodka-based cocktails.

Keithley will also participate in a new seminar this year, called The Women of Distilling Workshop. Moderated by 5280 Magazine’s food editor Amanda Faison, the panel will discuss what creative women are doing in the distilling industry. The workshop will be held Friday, Oct. 21, at Napper Tandy’s from 4–5 p.m. Panelists include Keithley; Karen Hoskin, owner of Montanya Distillery; Kyla Ostler, brand ambassador for Montanya; Amy Eckstein, owner of Deerhammer Distillery; Tara Curry, sales for 291 Distillery; and Katie Jandera, marketing for RNDC. The event is free and open to the public.

For the Craft Spirits Festival, many other restaurants, bars and businesses get in the mix. Other ancillary events on Friday include the popular shot glass decorating class in the Breckenridge Arts District, and the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance will offer its Preston Ghost Town and Gold Mine Tour, as well as its Behind Swinging Doors Historic Saloon Tour and Tombstone Tour at Twilight.

Local watering holes will participate in the seventh-annual Poker Run and Bar Mix-Off on Friday from 5 p.m. to close. Contestants will draw playing cards at stops and then present their best five-card hand the following day at the Poker Showdown, to be held at the Still on the Hill Grand Tasting on Saturday. Turn in cards by 6:15 p.m. to the ticket desk. The Poker Run is a cocktail throwdown among local mixologists, utilizing craft spirits as their base. The mule cocktail is the theme of the evening.

“It’s amazing how different they can taste just based on what the underlying product is,” Mihm said. “It’s fun to go and learn about it, just like people are interested in where their food comes from and that there’s a personality behinds these things. It really taps into that kind of movement.”

Participating restaurants and bars include Apres Handcrafted Libations, Breckenridge Distillery Tasting Room, Briar Rose Chophouse, Burke and Riley’s Irish Pub, The Canteen, C.B. and Potts Restaurant and Tavern, Downstairs at Eric’s, The Dredge, Empire Burger, Fatty’s Pizzeria, Giampietro, Gold Pan Saloon, Hearthstone, Kenosha/Rita’s, Mi Casa, Michael’s Italian Restaurant, Modis, Ollie’s Pub, Park and Main, Relish, Salt Creek Steakhouse and more.

On Saturday, the Spirited Cooking Class at Colorado Mountain College is already sold out, but there will be an historic walking tour, the Breckenridge Haunted Tour and an after-party at The Gold Pan Saloon, with bluegrass band the Honey Gitters.

On Sunday, various restaurants will participate in the Bloody Hangover Brunch, and the free Art of Tasting Spirits Workshop will be held from 11 a.m. to noon at Mi Casa. The seminar is another event that emphasizes the festival’s focus on education.

“There’s so much to learn, and the distillers learn from one another about distilling techniques and different things people are trying as well as marketing and distribution,” Mihm said. “There’s such camaraderie among the participants, both at the distiller level along with the restaurants along with the distributors that come to the event, and then also the public.”

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