There were 2,393 press releases posted in the last 24 hours and 393,471 in the last 365 days.

Aspen Distillers Regenerating Degraded Soil

Excavator equipment working on Hallam Lake surrounded by evergreen trees and foothills on a gloomy day

Sediment from a Hallam Lake restoration project will help to restore the soil on Aspen Distillers’ property.

Aspen Distillers Takes The Living Building Challenge: Place Petal

ASPEN, COLORADO, USA, October 26, 2021 / -- Aspen Distillers, Pitkin County’s first distillery and the world’s first distillery designed to meet the most rigorous green building certification, will restore degraded soil on the property with a natural, nutrient-rich soil amendment.

The distillery is being designed in accordance with the Living Building Challenge, a sustainable building certification and philosophy that encourages regenerative design and operation. Part of this challenge referred to as the “Place Petal” requires restoring previously disturbed areas as opposed to untouched sites in order to invite nature’s functions “back into a healthy interface with the built environment.”

“Aspen Distillers is inspired by the natural beauty of the Roaring Fork Valley, and we are dedicated to restoring and protecting the environment on our site as part of our mission to create a more sustainable future,” Aspen Distillers Founder Matthew Patel said.

The eight-acre site for Aspen Distillers is being developed from what has become an over-utilized site that lost its native habitat and later stopped being productive for farming as a result of a variety of land uses that stripped the soil of its quality over the years.

From the time of the incorporation of the city of Aspen, the property has served as a transportation corridor due to its geographic location. The Wingo Junction Rail House, where the Colorado Midland Railroad and Rio Grande Railroad lines merged, still stands near the Northeast corner of the property and the rusted steel bridges over Highway 82 and the Roaring Fork River are further reminders of the rail history so important to Aspen’s past. In the 1950s and 60s, the property saw its most intensive use as a lumber mill and yard. Most recently, it supported a landscaping business servicing the valley.

As a result of these uses, the soil across the entire property had been depleted — including the area Aspen Distillers has designated for sustainable agriculture. When Aspen Distillers acquired the property, it supported little more than noxious weeds.

After Aspen Distillers and Group14 Engineering documented site conditions, lead architect Anderson Mason Dale identified a reference habitat and designed a landscape plan. The landscape will mature and evolve emulating the functionality of the reference habitat with regard to density, biodiversity, plant succession, water use and nutrient needs. The Southeast corner of the property will support an avian habitat to encourage nesting of native birds of prey.

The project will not utilize any petrochemical fertilizers — synthetic fertilizers produced using large quantities of fossil fuels — in its operation and maintenance. Therefore, a natural soil amendment solution was needed to remedy the existing conditions.

Recent research validates the use of lake sediment as a soil amendment for agriculture. Aspen Distillers is pleased to announce a collaborative construction plan with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) that will draw on this research and divert nearly 3000 cubic yards from the Pitkin County Landfill.

In the construction plan, Aspen Distillers will utilize the nutrient rich sediment from the ACES restoration project of Hallam Lake Nature Preserve. Not only will the plan provide a solution for the wet heavy material produced from dredging the lake, it will also provide a sustainable soil amendment for the distillery property in the late fall.

“In our efforts to improve aquatic habitat and biodiversity at Hallam Lake, our restoration work is removing decades of sediment. Our collaboration with Aspen Distillers means that this material will have a second life in local agriculture,” Chris Lane, CEO of ACES, said.

Aspen Distillers was founded by Matthew Patel who assembled an ecosystem of talent to develop the first distillery in Pitkin County. The project is inspired by Aspen’s natural beauty and is rooted in its commitment to protecting the environment, corporate responsibility and sustainability. Aspen Distillers uses the highest quality local ingredients and exacting production methods, while achieving maximum sustainability. Acknowledging that not everyone can or will adopt the rigorous parameters of The Living Building Challenge, Patel invites others to follow the endeavor. “Hopefully businesses and individuals will find ways to introduce more sustainability into their everyday lives and operations. Ultimately, the goal is to celebrate and support well-being and the environment in the valley and beyond” says Patel.


Kaylee Harter
Aspen Distillers