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Bottling success: Denver distillery seizes surprising opportunity during pandemic

Through a social media and email campaign, the distillery generated half of its $650,000 goal by late February and thinks it could hit $2 million.

DENVER — Kraig Weaver, co-owner of The Block Distilling Co., called 2020 a “blur,” but that designation is more apt to describe the flurry of expansion moves that the 4-year-old spirits producer made rather than the batten-down-the-hatches pivots that most small businesses undertook.

The result: The Block increased sales 18% during the pandemic year, expanded its staff by more than 50% and purchased the rest of its building in a move that will help it grow its space fourfold and increase production sixfold. And its founders — who also include Weaver’s wife, Michelle, and his brother, Kameron — are bullish moving forward.

“We’re a growing business that’s willing to show everything we’ve done so far and are willing to invest everything we have in the future,” Weaver said.

> Video above: Castle Rock pizza shop helps competitor during their temporary closure due to COVID.

When Colorado shut down dining and tasting rooms, the partners saw opportunity rather than pain, realizing their 52-seat capacity already limited chances to grow. Knowing they had the materials in place to fill bottles with premade drinks, they researched which top-sellers were shelf-stable and began selling them, along with bottles of gin, vodka and whiskey. They found a steady business.

>> Read the full story on the Denver Business Journal

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