facebook-pixel

High West builds ‘ultimate whiskey distillery in the West’ near Park City

Expansion • High West builds ‘ultimate’ distillery at Blue Sky ranch in Wanship.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Wanship • Utah — and the rest of the world — will see a lot more High West Whiskey on the shelves when the Park City-based distiller starts production later this month inside a new 20,000-square-foot facility about 20 miles outside Park City.

The High West Distillery at Blue Sky Ranch in Wanship was built with ramped-up production in mind. It has:

• Three 6,000-gallon storage tanks.

• Two silos able to hold 50,000 pounds of grains — and space to add additional silos in the future.

• One 10,000-pound stainless-steel container for spent grain. These leftovers from the distilling process are distributed to area farmers for animal feed.

And that's just the containers on the outside of the new distillery.

Inside sits a new 1,600-gallon copper still shipped from Scotland. It's the first of four stills that will be installed to eventually make whiskey from rye, wheat, oat and malt, said High West ambassador Terry Ginsburg during a preview tour last week.

"When all four stills are in," he said, "we will be making 25 times more whiskey than in Park City."

The new facility also has bottling and storage areas.

"We swung for the fences and built the ultimate whiskey distillery in the West," owner David Perkins said.

Perkins has come a long way since 2008, when he set up High West's original copper-pot still in a Salt Lake City warehouse at 3555 W. 1500 South. A year later, he opened the High West Distillery and Saloon in a 100-year-old restored livery stable near Park City's Historic Main Street. (High West will continue to make whiskey in the Park City location.)

Perkins launched the business with his cowboy-inspired Rendezvous Rye, a blend of two rye whiskeys — one aged 16 years, the other aged six years — shipped from a distiller in Kentucky.

Since then, High West has been making and aging more of its own whiskey to keep up with demand, but Perkins has no plans to stop shipping in whiskeys from various other states, since they are such a large part of the business.

"We are really good at blending, so that's what we are going to continue to do," he said.

Out-of-state guests will be lured to the new distillery, in part, because of its location on the sprawling 3,500-acre Blue Sky Ranch in Wanship. A working ranch with 45 horses and more than 100 head of cattle, Blue Sky's mountain setting allows the owners to offer more than a dozen outdoor adventures, from fly fishing and horseback riding in the summer to dog sledding and overnight stays in a yurt in winter.

In about six months, tourists and locals also will be able to schedule distillery tours, following the whiskey-making process from grain milling and mashing to distilling and aging.

The distillery is just one part of a larger Blue Sky project. A 9,000-square-foot High West restaurant and visitor center — next to the distillery — is expected to open July 4. It includes private meeting space, dining and tasting rooms, and a gift shop.

And in 2016, Blue Sky plans to open a 60-room luxury hotel in the style of the Amangiri resort, near the Utah and Arizona border, which is designed to blend into the landscape with natural hues and design, said Blue Sky owner Mike Phillips.

"We traveled to distilleries all over the world," said Phillips, "and we didn't see anything like this."

kathys@sltrib.com

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune David Perkins, High West Distillery proprietor, holds a shot glass of Valley Tan Utah Oat Whiskey as he talks to guests as owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, gave a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune David Perkins, High West Distillery proprietor, talks to guests as owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, gave a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune David Perkins, High West Distillery proprietor, smiles as he unveils a bottle of Valley Tan Utah Oat Whiskey as he talks to guests as owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, gave a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Blue Sky Ranch owner Mike Phillips talks with guests as he is joined by High West Distillery owners during a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery in Wanship, Utah, Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Owners of Blue Sky Ranch and High West Distillery in Wanship, Utah, give a tour of its soon-to-be completed luxury guest ranch Ñ which includes the new Distillery Friday, December 5, 2014. The new 25,000 square foot distillery will be larger than the one in Park City and allow High West to increase production.

Return to Story