North Denver Distillery on the Rise

While plenty of spirits are made in Colorado, not everyone has the local credentials of Rising Sun Distillery. “Supporting local agriculture is really important to me,” explained Dawn Richardson who owns the distillery with her husband Sol. She said they source local grains, honey, chilis, lavender, and other ingredients. “I like really clean spirits.”

Dawn Richardson welcomes customers to the tasting room on Zuni.
Photo by David Sabados

Richardson, a former social studies teacher, opened Rising Sun to the public in 2015. She jokes that moving from education to liquor is her “Breaking Bad story.” Rising sun’s selection includes whiskey, gin, vodka, brandy, and liqueurs (but for fans of the show, we should clarify none of their offerings are blue).

Their newest project, Dark Angel Whiskey, partners with a name many Denver beer drinkers are well familiar with: Epic Brewing. Using barrels from Epic’s Big Bad Baptist brew mixed with New American Oak spirals to increase the oak, toast, and vanilla flavors, Rising Sun created a unique whiskey you don’t want to miss. Dark Angel uses 3 malts found in the Big Bad Baptist, unusual for American whiskey.

Dave Cole, co-founder of Epic, said while they’ve used barrels from spirits to enhance beer, the reverse is a new idea they were excited to try with Rising Sun. “It just sounded cool,” said Cole. “They’re good people.”

Photo courtesy of Rising Sun distillery.

In addition to their newest creation, Rising Sun offers a number of unique spirits, including a chile whiskey and chile liqueur, the later of which can be sipped on its own or used to augment a margarita. Asked if they used Hatch or Pueblo chilis, Richardson reiterated their Colorado credentials: “Pueblo, of course.”

Dark Angel was released on October 9 at their tasting room at 1330 Zuni in Denver and they also operate a tasting room in Frisco. Dark Angel and other Rising Sun spirits can be purchased directly through their tasting room. Many North Denver realtors also carry their other spirits. Rising Sun is a women and black owned business. You can find out more about them at


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.