Alastair Brogan has always been a big guy, often described as larger than life, he’s one of those people you notice when he walks in the room. Maybe it’s his Scottish accent, maybe it’s his big smile. Whatever it is, Al doesn’t mind the attention, and he’ll sit and talk with you for hours to figure out what makes you tick.
Hailing from Motherwell, Scotland (It’s near Glasgow) Alastair joined the Royal Air Force out of school, and took quite an interest in Combat Survival. Finding the challenge and physical nature of the military a good fit, he stayed for 10 years. After a year-long round-the-world backpacking trip, Alastair eventually returned to the Family Business where a short stint turned into fifteen long years of hard work, dedication, an MBA, and a position at the helm of the company he led to multi-national growth and financial success.
When Alastair sold the family business and set his sights on America, he fell in love with the mountain lifestyle he discovered in Boulder, and moved here with his wife and kids. Maybe it’s just something in his Scottish heritage, but Alastair has always had a deep passion for Distilling. He had an ambition to make Whiskey, Single Malt Whiskey – the kind of Whiskey he had known and loved in his native Scotland.
When Alastair met Ted Palmer, he was utterly impressed with his knowledge, passion, and his incredible talent for distilling award winning Gins. Alistair expressed his ambition to distill Whiskey in America, and the two knew they were on to something and a partnership was formed. In February of 2015, a handmade 1000-gallon Scottish Copper Pot still arrived, and 3 years later Vapor Distillery has 2 new award-winning single malt whiskies!
The Distilling experience served Ted well during his Navy tour as a mine field navigator, where he became “The man to go to for a drink”. He made ship-board Bilge Wine, and needless to say a whole lot of friends in the process.
After leaving the Navy, Ted took a brewing job in Washington, and worked his way up quickly, learning a lot along the way about brewing, making beer, and developing a reputation for his damn fine palate for beer and Spirit tasting. His knowledge of the processes of distilling and brewing led to his being sought out for advice on start-up distilleries and breweries.
Ted began distilling with Vapor Distillery (Then Roundhouse Spirits) where he started working on new Gin recipes. Ted has always been a Gin connoisseur, but he wanted to create a new taste. - That recipe eventually became his award-winning, New Western Style Rhok Gin. After that came Ginskey – A Barrel Aged Gin that was recently given the title of “World’s Best Cask Gin” and Double Gold at the prestigious 2015 World Gin Awards in London England. Currently Ted is fine-tuning his recipes for a Navy Strength, a Genever, and a Traditional Dry Gin to add to the Vapor Distillery brand.
When folks ask Justin Bair what he does, they often turn a little green with envy when he answers “I produce alcohol, and play rock-n-roll”. Hailing from Alaska, our bearded Musician/Distiller can be found at Vapor Distillery when he’s not out on the road wielding drumsticks with his band The Butchers and The Builders – Justin and his band have been playing for huge crowds, and just finished up a tour of Germany – And while he’s not one to brag himself, we’re perfectly Okay with tooting his horn, and we think he’s what every aspiring Lumbersexual truly wishes they could be.
Of course Justin’s other passion is Distilling. Leaving Alaska, he moved to Portland, Oregon, where his two brothers taught him the art of brewing. While he loved it - who wouldn’t love brewing - what he really wanted to do was to get into Distilling, and he has been working with Ted at Vapor Distillery for the last couple of years fulfilling that dream. You can tell that Justin’s favorite part of distilling is cracking open a barrel of the aged stuff. He’s like a kid at Christmas on those days…
Ryan has been educating about, mixing drinks with, and continuing the pursuit of education about whiskey and spirits for more than 10 years. He's right at home surrounded by mountains and barrels, though he grew up surrounded by corn fields in Indiana. During the middle of his bar tending career, Ryan co-founded the Denver Whiskey Club, an educational forum for the whiskey minded. This would lead to meeting and rubbing elbows with the biggest names in the whiskey industry and learning from them.
Take those years of experience and combine them with the amazing spirits made right here at Vapor Distillery, and you've got a hell of a combination. Look out for Ryan all over the state and beyond preaching the good words of Boulder Spirits!
Ward’s first bar job was checking IDs and taking out trash part time. After working his way up to slinging drinks for a live music crowd every night, he transitioned into fine dining. There he developed a passion for hospitality as well as a love of great food and drink. Throughout his career he’s studied beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails along with history, chemistry, and the culinary arts. His long-time affinity for great barrel matured gin made him a fan of Vapor Distillery almost as soon as he moved to Colorado from his home state, Alabama.
After spending years behind some of the most renowned cocktail bars in Denver, Ward set his sights on working with a spirits brand that he believed in, and that opportunity came in the form of Vapor Distillery and Boulder Spirits. He sees the challenges of building a beverage program around a single line of spirits as an exciting opportunity to use his experience to highlight the quality of Boulder Spirits. With a heavy focus on local ingredients, sustainability, and inventiveness, Ward hopes to build a cocktail experience that includes everything from good company to great drinks and even how to make them.
Chris Degges was born in South Texas near the border of Mexico. He was raised in Austin Texas - Which Chris considers the greatest city in America! As a teen he moved to Breckenridge, Colorado, where he discovered the mountains were his real passion, and lived the snowboard life for 5 seasons. After a nice run in the mountains, he moved to Fort Collins, attended Front Range Community College, and worked at a well-known Old Town Fort Collins pub for over 7 years, working his way up from Security, Waiting Tables, Lead Bartender, and ultimately Manager of the establishment for the last few years of his tenure. And if that were not enough to keep him busy, he also managed to help run a fruit & vegetable farm in Berthoud, Colorado for two and a half years.
Chris joined the Vapor Distillery family early in 2016, working as a bartender, and helping out at Farmers' Markets and Festivals, and when his sales skills and passion for whiskey became apparent, it lead to his promotion as a Brand Ambassador.
Boulder can be a little bit of a Black Hole at times, but the good kind. People have all sorts of stories about how they made it to Boulder, and then never left. Take Heidi, our office and events manager for instance. Raised in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Heidi had taken a round-about road trip out to California, and on her way back to the East Coast, her car caught on fire in Boulder. By the time she had enough money to have it fixed, she had a job, had a palace to live, and decided to stay. That was 1994.
Heidi is a bit of a Jack-of-all Trades. She has a Fashion Design and Art Degree from FIT in New York City, she learned Bookkeeping while running a handful of Bars, and most recently ran an event center in Boulder. For years she was a part-time CU Student studying Russian by day, a Bartender by night, and an avid world traveler every summer. She discovered a deep love for all things Eastern Europe, and hoping to keep those hard-won Russian language skills fresh, she just completed her latest –14th- international trip through Eastern Europe, with stops in Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.