New Rising Sun Distillery opens in Frisco
FRISCO — Rising Sun Distillery’s new tasting room hosted its grand opening Friday, Aug. 14, bringing craft cocktails and an international street-food-inspired menu to Frisco. The distillery’s original location is in Denver, but when owners Dawn and Sol Richardson started looking for a second location, they decided to bring the concept to the mountains.
Once they started looking in Summit County, Dawn Richardson said they knew the tourism-based nature of the area would be a good fit, and they decided on the Frisco location in spring 2019. Rising Sun was scheduled to open in May, but when the pandemic hit in March, the final construction work and inspections came to a halt.
“Frankly, I got scared,” Richardson said. “… I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to do it. Were we going to lose our business completely? … I was like, ‘Uh-oh, are we just done? Are we pulling the plug?’
“Sol had to talk me off a cliff and said, ‘No, we need to go forward. We’re already three-quarters of the way through. We can’t stop now.’ So we went forward.”
Richardson’s vision for the tasting room is to be approachable and inviting, as if people are walking into her home. She wanted the space to be an “everyday getaway” that offered a luxury product that was attainable for locals and visitors.
“In Denver, we don’t do food,” Richardson said. “It’s only manufacturing, and we have a very small, very rustic type of tasting room because it’s an industrial strip mall. So we always envisioned how we would evolve and that this would be like our Vision 2.0.”
Rising Sun started as an organic distillery, and over time the Richardsons have gotten to know the farmers they work with, all of whom are within 300 miles. The distillery plans to continue to produce all of its spirits in Denver.
Currently, the Frisco tasting room employs five bartenders and four cooks, and is looking to hire additional bartenders. Rising Sun is starting with a small menu and has plans to create food-and-drink pairings. A few of the distillery’s cocktails include a barrel-aged peach cobbler bourbon, a chili martini and a “Latin Russian.” For food, the distillery offers snacks, sides and main courses like chicken tandoori kabobs and Korean barbecue beef.
General Manager J.D. Hindorff said that for food, the bacon, bison, bourbon balls have been especially popular. He added that his personal favorite drink is the Old-Fashioned. Hindorff, who has been in the county for 18 years, said he wanted to be part of Rising Sun because he saw it as something new for Frisco.
“Rising Sun is going to be a really unique distillery,” Hindorff said. “… We have a couple of restaurants up here that specialize in craft cocktails, but that’s not their specialty, and that’s our niche that we fill.”
Rising Sun is open for lunch, happy hour and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily at 1121 Dillon Dam Road. Drink prices range from $9 to $13, and all food items are under $20. Food and drinks can be ordered for takeout at RisingSunDistillery.com/friscomenu.
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