Hayes Kelman, a fifth-generation farmer from Sublette, was 25 years old when he purchased the condemned building on Boot Hill. That location is where he planned to sow the fruit of his family’s corn and wheat fields and reap vodka, whiskey, gin and bourbon.
Today marks the third anniversary of the grand opening of Boot Hill Distillery, 501 Spruce St.
Since the launch of its first bourbon whiskey earlier this month, Kelman and his small staff of microbrew obsessives can now boast a distillery lineup of moonshine, vodka, gin and two younger whiskeys that have been distributed in eight states via market giant Standard Beverage and have earned the distillery several national awards.
Kelman invites customers to soak up an experimental series in the Tasting Room in an old-world-Dodge-City sort of atmosphere that covets Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and shadowy men on horseback, doubtless in need of a drink.
What would Kelman serve Wyatt Earp if he sauntered up to the Tasting Room?
"I think we would have to serve him an Old Western with Boot Hill Bourbon and Prickly Ash Bitters," he said. "Our bourbon has an image of Wyatt Earp so it only seems fitting that he would drink ‘his’ bourbon. This cocktail is our version of an Old Fashioned."
The historic property was slated for demolition when Kelman purchased it from the city in 2014 for $10.
Since then, it has generated enough revenue that the former K-State student plans to soon stay open seven days a week, said distillery director of sales Lee Griffith. He is one three full-time employees eager to sell customers on their own abilities to recreate any drink from the distillery menu at home.
"There are a few cocktails that we have that use less obtainable ingredients but we make sure to stock and sell these ingredients in The Tasting Room so anything that we have on our menu can be made with ingredients purchased in Dodge City," Kelman said. "Our bartenders are happy to show any customer exactly how to make the cocktail they are enjoying so that it can be enjoyed the same way at home or in any other setting."
Boot Hill Distillery offers everything to make their Doc Holliday G&T, or gin and tonic.
"Now if we could convince the two of them to come in with a few extra friends we might suggest the group try our ‘Cowboy Band.’
This mammoth drink features Boot Hill Distillery Red Eye Whiskey, Gin, White Whiskey, Moonshine, Orange Juice, Pineapple juice, lemon, ginger beer, cinnamon, and a fire show, said Kelman.
The drink is suitable for three to four people and is served inside of a tiki-style scorpion bowl.
For more information, visit www.boothilldistillery.com or follow Boot Hill Distillery’s social media pages. For distribution or other inquiries, email email@example.com or call 620-371-6309.
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