KRISTEN KUCHAR MARCH 14, 2023 / Westword.com
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Connie Baker jokes that when it comes to careers, she switched from drugs to booze. She left behind her job in pharmaceutical communications to pursue her passion for distilling and to launch the ultra-sustainable Marble Distilling in Carbondale in 2015.
“It’s so much more fun,” says Baker, who is Marble’s co-founder and head distiller. She always had a fascination with vodka, so when she learned about a distilling school in Washington where you only had to be on site for eight days, she decided to sign up. She thought it would simply be a way to build on her personal interest, but things quickly changed.
“On the first day, I called my husband and said, “We’re going to open a distillery,’” Baker recalls.
While touring numerous distilleries, Baker noticed the incredible amount of waste water and spent grains going down the drain and decided that she would do things differently. “I want to make great vodka, but I’m not going to destroy the planet to do it. There’s got to be another way,” she remembers thinking.
Sustainable practices are built into the Marble’s business model. Baker installed a closed-loop method, capturing 100 percent of the water and energy used and created during the distillation process and reusing it. This system saves 1.8 billion BTUs and more than 4 million gallons of water annually — enough energy to power twenty homes a year. Where some distilleries can use up to 100 bottles of water to create one bottle of vodka, Marble’s method uses one.
The distillery also utilizes solar energy, and once the grains are distilled, they’re returned to local ranchers to use as livestock feed. This innovation led to Baker being selected as the first craft distiller representative on the DISCUS (Distilled Spirits Council of the United States) Environmental Sustainable Committee, along with top brands such as Moët Hennessy and Bacardi. The group explores resource conservation, energy, climate, water stewardship and sustainable packaging.
Marble’s spirits are made with local Colorado grains and Crystal River Water, and are distilled in copper pot stills. Original white marble from Yule Creek Quarry can be found in the distillery, and crushed marble is used as a filtering agent, imparting a mineral-rich flavor on the back end of the palate.
In addition to award-winning vodka and whiskey, Marble also makes the popular Moonlight Expresso, a caffeinated spirit made with locally roasted dark Guatemalan coffee beans and Ugandan vanilla beans.
There’s also a reserve version that’s aged for a minimum of one year in freshly harvested casks from the distillery’s Hoovers Revenge Rye.
Inspired by the Italian classic limoncello, Marble’s Gingercello is made with lemon zest and fresh cut ginger, and its reserve version is aged in bourbon barrels. The distillery offers limited releases, too, like a peach brandy that was recently available in the tasting room.
While its sustainability efforts are noteworthy, Marble is breaking ground in another area, as well. An on-site inn offers guests the opportunity to “sleep with the stills” in an urban-chic setting, Baker says. Guests can have a drink in the tasting room, enjoy the shops and galleries in Carbondale, walk to restaurants and hop on the cruiser bikes available. The property was named a 2017 Green Hotelier Award winner, which is judged on efforts to reduce water consumption, waste output, energy and more.
Marble Distillery’s spirits can be found at various liquor stores, bars and restaurants across Colorado. The distillery and tasting room are located at 150 Main Street in Carbondale. For more information, call 970-963-7008 or visit marbledistilling.com.