Meanwhile, Brice always had a hand for home-brewing— inspired in part from watching “M.A.S.H.” Like a true pirate, Brice—a self-proclaimed martini guy from Grand Junction— “stole” Karen from his best friend in the Badlands of South Dakota one summer. The couple began small spirit operations, which included 17 custom cases of “Matrimony Ale” for his brother’s wedding. Karen, a graphic designer, made the funky labels, and together they tossed around the idea of opening a brew pub before life’s other plans began. “Wherever I go, I hope there’s rum!” —Jimmy Buffet April, 2008. Tobacco Caye, Belize. Hoskin family vacation. Daily, from 5 p.m. on at a tiki bar, the couple sat drinking rum, mulling over what was next for them (Brice had begun the very successful Mountain Boy Sled Works, and Karen was a jamming graphic designer.) Looking around at bottles of Marie Sharp’s hot sauces on every table uncorked a theme. Capitalizing on two of Belize’s cash crops, carrots and chilies, Ms. Sharp looked at what was abundant locally and profit began to grow in her kitchen. Next the Hoskins started to stew over what was being shipped into Silverton from far away. The answer was booze (main ingredient: Water). What’s abundant in Silverton? Snow, man. H20. In a book by Nobel Prize-winning Muhammad Yunus, the concept of doing business to “address a social problem is designed to complement capi16 edible SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS WINTER 2010
talism while addressing humanity’s critical issues.” In the instance of Silverton, the critical issue was twofold. First, the environmental impact of shipping adult beverages from thousands of miles away to the ravenously thirsty 500 Silverton residents is significant. Second, the economy of this former mining boomtown had slowly dwindled until the last large mine closed in 1991. Most businesses today open only in the summer to accommodate tourists trained-in from Durango. Year-round jobs are as scarce as bathing suits. “Rum’s genius has always been its keen ability to make something from nothing.” —Wayne Curtis Okay, but wait, rum above 9,000 feet? You know it. Rum has mysterious origins: It’s much more than dreadlocks and Appleton’s. Distilled from the juice of a sugarcane plant, rum was invented maybe in Barbados, or perhaps on the islands of Hispaniola or Cuba, or by chance Portuguese colonists on the coast of Brazil. No one really knows. But what really slipped the Hoskins the mickey was the South American traditions of rum distillation. For example, Ron Zacapa Centenario, a popular premium rum produced in Guatemala, claims that part of its success lies in the fact that the barrels are stored 2,300 meters above sea level in the mountains and volcanoes of Guatemala. Spanish traditions. Altitude. Mountains. Snow. Water. Rum in the mountains with a dash of Spanish. Montanya. With a bigger bar tab than food and lodging combined, the
Telling the story of local food throughout Southwest Colorado and The Four Corners.