Why make a whiskey with hemp seeds? Why not, is the answer from one Colorado craft distillery owner.

“I started to play around with the idea of using hemp,” said Bryan Phillips, owner of Coal Creek Distillery in Crested Butte.

And with that idea, his problems getting it approved for sale, started.

“It’s ok to have marijuana, it’s ok to have a distillery—you just can’t put the two together,” Phillips said.

Phillips was already making an assortment of spirits, including whiskey and vodka, but he wanted to make something that was an only-in-Colorado novelty. Something unique. So he has spent the last 16 months, battling a 17-year-old law about hemp.

“It’s still considered a schedule one narcotic, even though it doesn’t contain any THC whatsoever,” Phillips said. “I jumped through about 900 hoops to get this thing done.”

Finally July 3, 2017—his birthday--Phillips was given the go ahead by both the state and federal government to make Batch 64 Whiskey—a spirit distilled with hemp and corn.

“It cannot make you high—no,” Phillips said. “I promised the government it won’t get you high—it’s been tested too many times.”

Phillips uses mostly local ingredients to make his whiskey and other spirits, including Olathe sweet corn, and water right from the mountain in his backyard—the Whetstone aquifer. He said he will be using hemp from Grow Hemp Colorado as well.

To learn more about Batch 64 and the rest of Coal Creek’s spirits, go to their website.

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