Raising a Glass to the Past in Central City

Story and photos by Natasha Lovato

Central City transformed into one large speakeasy as dozens of distillers gathered together for the sixth annual Stills in the Hills festival last Saturday. Attendees participated in the libations by traveling from booth to booth as they sampled hundreds of spirits and mixed cocktails. 

It was bottoms up all day for folks at this prohibition-themed event as crowds danced to the bands, filled their bellies with eats and potentially found luck in the casinos. 

The event proved to be smooth sailing for Kara Tinucci, Central City events coordinator, as she kicked off another successful year of Stills in the Hills.

“This year the music lineup is really exciting,” she said as folks began to fill the street. “We have three different bands and its three bands we haven’t had before. So, we are super excited about that.”

She also said the distillers seemed to be pleased with the venue. “Getting to know the distillers, hearing them say it’s their favorite event, it means the world,” she said.

Distillers from across the state set up camp along historic Main Street as event-goers crowded the tents for liquor samples. Stills in the Hills veteran distilleries made a re-appearance while new-comers enjoyed the promising business the event brought. 

“We do these events so that we can expand our brand to different markets and different areas,” said Mike Gerard, owner at 3 Hundred Days Distilling in Monument. “A lot of people here have never heard of us, and they are trying us for the first time and wanting to buy our stuff.” And he hopes to return next year. “If they let us come back, we will definitely come back. We have to get our stuff into more liquor stores so people can buy it locally.”

The event provided a different experience for everyone, whether as an attendee, staff or a participating distillery. 

“I really love the set up being here in the historic downtown right on the main drag,” said Jeremy Kempter, of Old Town Distilling Company in Fort Collins. “It’s unique, you know, instead of being out in the field somewhere.”

Kempter said the setting is perfect for the event. “We are packed in here with people that seem a lot more enthusiastic and interested in our products,” he said. “It feels really worthwhile and we are very fortunate to have this opportunity. The locals really like the activity that comes through this time of year and we just feel really welcome here, so this is one of those events we look forward to and make sure to make every year.”