Golden distillery readies $6M expansion

Steve Gould selling liquor at a trade event. (Golden Moon)

Steve Gould is done with the small batches.

The owner of Golden Moon Distillery, at 412 Violet St. in Golden, is starting a $6 million expansion that could boost its output by 60 times.

Golden Moon will upgrade from its current 2,000 square feet in an industrial part of Golden to 8,800 square feet starting next week. In the next 18 to 24 months, the distillery will take over an additional 4,600 square feet of adjacent space for a barrelhouse to age spirits.

“We’re in a really good position right now, in that we have the distributor relationships across the U.S. and internationally,” Gould said. “We’re selling every drop we make with no sales, no marketing and no PR.”

The distillery currently can produce 4,000 cases per year of its absinthe, gin, whiskey and other spirits. When it has completed its three phases of expansion over the next two years, it will be at a quarter-million case capacity. Each case holds 9 liters of liquid.

Gould said he looked at a variety of other locations, including Jefferson County.

“Every place we looked the municipalities were full of bureaucratic roadblocks,” he said.

He said he ultimately decided to stay at the current location, and Golden and the distillery’s landlord cooperated with its plans.

“We have to spend a lot of money on somebody else’s building … but we can’t always get what we want,” Gould said. “When we’re done, this is going to be an amazing operation.”

Gould in the distillery at 412 Violet St. (Golden Moon)

Golden Moon is ramping up its whiskey production as well. Currently, it distills a few barrels per year of its Colorado single malt whiskey. In the next two to three years, Gould said, that is growing to as much as 1,200 barrels per year.

“We’re scaling that product because we believe that the next big (thing) for brown spirits that consumers are going to want is single malt,” he said.

Golden Moon is spending $6 million on the entire project, Gould said, with $2.84 million secured last month through an SBA loan. The rest will come from a mix of debt and equity financing.

In order to ramp up production, the distillery is getting $3 million worth of new equipment, including two 500-gallon whiskey stills, six 270-gallon multipurpose stills and nine antique stills.

Golden Moon hired architect Ware Malcomb and contractor GE Johnson. The mechanical engineer on the project is Concord Engineering.

In addition to the distillery expansion, Gould also plans to renovate the Golden Moon Speakeasy at 1111 Miner’s Alley, but he declined to share details.

The company plans to triple its Golden staff from 12 to 36 in the next two years. It distributes in 14 states, Italy, the United Kingdom and Denmark, as well as India and Japan by yearend.

“Export is a big piece of what we’re doing,” Gould said.

Gould grew up in Nevada working in bars and restaurants. He earned an MBA from the University of Nevada, worked for Ford for nearly a decade and served in Iraq with the Marine Corps. After finding a case of vintage absinthe in Detroit and a French book on distillation published in the 1800s, Gould decided to pursue distilling. He shadowed distillers in Europe before launching Golden Moon in Ohio in 2008.

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