Alastair Brogan has always been a big guy, often described as larger than life, he’s one of those people you notice when he walks in the room. Maybe it’s his Scottish accent, maybe it’s his big smile. Whatever it is, Al doesn’t mind the attention, and he’ll sit and talk with you for hours to figure out what makes you tick.
Hailing from Motherwell, Scotland (It’s near Glasgow) Alastair joined the Royal Air Force out of school, and took quite an interest in Combat Survival. Finding the challenge and physical nature of the military a good fit, he stayed for 10 years. After a year-long round-the-world backpacking trip, Alastair eventually returned to the Family Business where a short stint turned into fifteen long years of hard work, dedication, an MBA, and a position at the helm of the company he led to multi-national growth and financial success.
When Alastair sold the family business and set his sights on America, he fell in love with the mountain lifestyle he discovered in Boulder, and moved here with his wife and kids. Maybe it’s just something in his Scottish heritage, but Alastair has always had a deep passion for Distilling. He had an ambition to make Whiskey, Single Malt Whiskey – the kind of Whiskey he had known and loved in his native Scotland.
When Alastair met Ted Palmer, he was utterly impressed with his knowledge, passion, and his incredible talent for distilling award winning Gins. Alistair expressed his ambition to distill Whiskey in America, and the two knew they were on to something and a partnership was formed. In February of 2015, a handmade 1000-gallon Scottish Copper Pot still arrived, and everyone is looking forward to the first taste of Single Malt…
The Distilling experience served Ted well during his Navy tour as a mine field navigator, where he became “The man to go to for a drink”. He made ship-board Bilge Wine, and needless to say a whole lot of friends in the process.
After leaving the Navy, Ted took a brewing job in Washington, and worked his way up quickly, learning a lot along the way about brewing, making beer, and developing a reputation for his damn fine palate for beer and Spirit tasting. His knowledge of the processes of distilling and brewing led to his being sought out for advice on start-up distilleries and breweries.
Ted began distilling with Vapor Distillery (Then Roundhouse Spirits) where he started working on new Gin recipes. Ted has always been a Gin connoisseur, but he wanted to create a new taste. - That recipe eventually became his award-winning, New Western Style Rhok Gin. After that came Ginskey – A Barrel Aged Gin that was recently given the title of “World’s Best Cask Gin” and Double Gold at the prestigious 2015 World Gin Awards in London England. Currently Ted is fine-tuning his recipes for a Navy Strength, a Genever, and a Traditional Dry Gin to add to the Vapor Distillery brand.
When folks ask Justin Bair what he does, they often turn a little green with envy when he answers “I produce alcohol, and play rock-n-roll”. Hailing from Alaska, our bearded Musician/Distiller can be found at Vapor Distillery when he’s not out on the road wielding drumsticks with his band The Butchers and The Builders – Justin and his band have been playing for huge crowds, and just finished up a tour of Germany – And while he’s not one to brag himself, we’re perfectly Okay with tooting his horn, and we think he’s what every aspiring Lumbersexual truly wishes they could be.
Of course Justin’s other passion is Distilling. Leaving Alaska, he moved to Portland, Oregon, where his two brothers taught him the art of brewing. While he loved it - who wouldn’t love brewing - what he really wanted to do was to get into Distilling, and he has been working with Ted at Vapor Distillery for the last couple of years fulfilling that dream. You can tell that Justin’s favorite part of distilling is cracking open a barrel of the aged stuff. He’s like a kid at Christmas on those days…
You immediately know Mike hails from New Jersey given the accent, but our Mike is a bit of a rollin stone. Mike is the type of guy who you will find something in common with within a few minutes of meeting him. It helps that he has traveled around the world backpacking (and fishing) and has managed bars and restaurants from LA to Florida, to Chicago.
Mike knows everyone already, and he’s only been in Colorado for a few years. He will sort you out with a drink, help you make plans for the rest of your night complete with directions and who you should ask for when you get there. “Tell them Mike Pal sent you” is usually how he sees people off. We couldn’t ask for a more enthusiastic Brand Ambassador.
Although Mike is pretty settled in Colorado, he is always planning his next big fishing trip, but he’s not about to let the little ones get away either. In fact Mike keeps a bamboo fishing pole at the distillery for the lake out back – you never know what he’ll bring back.
Steph is the newest member of our team, and our other Brand Ambassador. She hails from Montana, and came to Boulder to study Business and Marketing, she also spent time working as a Catholic Missionary, and travelling the world in the summers - She was particularly good at connecting with and helping troubled students.
Steph is a true people-person, and the perfect person to work in the craft drink business. She is our “good time facilitator”, she loves to be around creative people, loves the passion of craft drink making, and you can’t help but be caught up by her infectious laugh.
K hails from Gainsville, where he earned his history degree from UCF, with a focus on Prohibition, Caribbean Piracy and the Rum trade. It was during college that HK was introduced to Craft Beer and fine Spirits, which he enjoyed together with his Dad - once he was legal of course!
When his Dad passed away, HK decided to take the creativity and sense of entreprenurship his father had taught him, and open a distillery in his father’s memory, so he packed up and started travelling around the US and Europe getting some real-world experience. Eventually Boulder’s Upslope Brewing brought him to Colorado, and he moved here with just a backpack and a mountain bike. Man had priorities. He worked his way up to Cellarman, and basically lived what can be best described as a friend’s closet.
One day HK met Ted, who happened to be a regular at Upslope. Ted found out that HK could weld, and observed that he was a hell of a hard worker. Ted proposed they start a business together, Hammered Kopper Works, LLC – A small custom fabrication shop dedicated to distillation equipment and consulting.
As Hammered Kopper Works, LLC continues to grow, we are very happy to have HK manning the bar in the evenings! – Especially when we have questions about pirates…
Boulder can be a little bit of a Black Hole at times, but the good kind. People have all sorts of stories about how they made it to Boulder, and then never left. Take Heidi, our office and events manager for instance. Raised in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Heidi had taken a round-about road trip out to California, and on her way back to the East Coast, her car caught on fire in Boulder. By the time she had enough money to have it fixed, she had a job, had a palace to live, and decided to stay. That was 1994.
Heidi is a bit of a Jack-of-all Trades. She has a Fashion Design and Art Degree from FIT in New York City, she learned Bookkeeping while running a handful of Bars, and most recently ran an event center in Boulder. For years she was a part-time CU Student studying Russian by day, a Bartender by night, and an avid world traveler every summer. She discovered a deep love for all things Eastern Europe, and hoping to keep those hard-won language skills fresh, she just completed her latest– 12th- trip to Russia this past October.