Boot Hill Distillery is planning to run monthly events every second Friday of the month starting this Friday with Tiki on Top of the Hill.

"So what we're actually doing is kind of a 'conditional' hour expansion," Boot Hill Distillery marketing manager Mark Vierthaler said. "The public's reaction to The Tasting Room has really overwhelmed us over the past year since we became a cocktail bar.

"With that, there's been an increasing demand for expanded hours. Because there are only a handful of us here at the distillery who basically do a little bit of every job, expanding the hours has been a bit of a challenge.

"So, we decided to expand our hours specifically for these special events like Final Friday.

"It just seemed like a natural extension then that we would add another Friday celebration between Final Fridays throughout the downtown area.

"On off weeks, our hours will remain the same, noon to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays."

The idea of hosting monthly events came from the need to expand the hours.

"Kind of tying in with what we talked about before, we figured the easiest way to start playing around with expanded hours would be to base them around specific events at set intervals," Vierthaler said. "That way people could know to anticipate that every other Friday there was going to be a special event here at the Distillery, and each one would feature some unique theme or entertainment.

"It also lets us dip our toes into the water of expanded hours without forcing all of us to essentially take up permanent residence here at the distillery."

According to Vierthaler, each event will have a particular theme as well as a particular drink (or style of drink) associated with it.

"Another reason we wanted to do this was to stretch ourselves as bartenders and entertainers, to have a fun unique experience twice a month in downtown Dodge, as well as to show our consumers how versatile our spirits actually are," he said. "For example, this week we're calling it Tiki on Top of the Hill.

"While we will still have our full menu, we're also going to have three tiki drinks that utilize BHD spirits as their base ingredient as opposed to the oft-used rum.

"We'll be dressing up in Hawaiian shirts, shorts and leis, have tiki music playing, and really just work to create the sense of a Hawaiian beach party in the middle of winter in Dodge City, Kansas.

"Of course we encourage people to come dressed in their favorite tiki/beach outfits as well."

Depending on the event along with the weather, live music will be planned to be a part of the events accordingly.

"Since really the only great place we have for live music is the back patio, it all depends on if the weather is cooperating or not," Vierthaler said.

Additionally, the distillery has added many new distributors throughout the state and it continues to grow.

"Business has been phenomenal," Vierthaler said. "We're still through the same distributor (Standard Beverage Corp.), but our number of retailers (i.e. liquor stores) has exponentially grown since we started distributing late last year.

"We're now available in over 135 liquor stores across the entire state, and we are seeing an increasing number of restaurants and bars picking up our products as well.

"What's been exciting is that several of these bars and restaurants have reached out to work with us developing their drinks menus with BHD products specifically in mind."

The distillery is also working on new types of liquor after the recent release of their gin.

"There are always lots of new things in the works," Vierthaler said. "Just before Christmas we released our second experimental batch, which was a 100 percent wheat whiskey.

"This followed the first experiment, which was a small-barrel bourbon. The reaction to both of these limited releases has been amazing, and it's encouraged us to look at some more things we can do back in the still room.

"We're also starting to look at seasonal releases like 'Summer Gin' as well as working closely with area breweries and vineyards on some cross-promotion/product inspiration."

With business picking up, the distillery could be happier with the support of the community both local and statewide.

"We genuinely can't thank the support of our customers enough," Vierthaler said. "It's through Dodge City's support and enthusiasm that we've been able to expand both our local offerings, as well as continue our reach across the state.

"We've received over a half dozen national awards on our products in just a year and a half, but it really is the people who keep coming back because our vodka, gin or whiskies have become 'their' product that keeps us inspired and enthusiastic."

Tiki on Top of the Hill is this Friday from 7 to 11 p.m. at Boot Hill Distillery.

It is free to attend, and you must be 21 years of age or older.

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