In the spring, Carbondale will welcome its first new hotel property in several years. The Marble Distilling Company plans to open a distillery and luxury hotel on Main Street. The owners think it will attract a new demographic and keep visitors in town longer. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen explains.
Connie Baker is Co-owner of Marble Distilling Company. She’s guiding me through the 7000 square foot building that’s still under construction.
"This is the back staircase. The main staircase will be near the entrance, which will be off of a covered patio from Main Street," she says as we climb the stairs.
The new distillery-slash-hotel at the end of Carbondale’s main downtown artery has a modern exterior that stands out next to older homes and businesses. When it opens in March, vodka, whiskey and other spirits will be produced and served here.
"Our vodka is called Crystal River Vodka 80, the ginger liqueur is called Ginger Cello, and the coffee liqueur is called Moonlight Espresso. We’re still working on the whiskeys. So far, we have a Ragged Mountain Rye and our Hoover’s Hound Hooch," Baker says.
The signature piece inside the two-story building will be an 18-foot copper still. A bar is being carved from two slabs of local marble and a tasting room, two patios and five luxury hotel rooms will open.
"The way I consider it is that we’re basically three businesses under one roof," says Dorian DiPangrazio, another co-owner.
The business is family-run. Dipangrazio’s husband Rob heads up sales and marketing. He says the hotel side of the business is badly needed in Carbondale.
"We think there’s a real high demand for a more upscale room here in Carbondale for both locals, people visiting, and business clients," he says.
He thinks the hotel -with rooms priced around $200 and $250/night - will help keep visitors in town longer.
"Carbondale gets a lot of day traffic but not a lot of longer-stay traffic. Hopefully we’ll have a lot of success bringing people into the area that stay for longer periods of time and that’ll drive business to other local establishments. We're hoping to make Carbondale more of a destination versus a 'stop.'"
Andrea Stewart has worked as the director of the Carbondale Chamber since 2008. She says, "The Marble Distilling Company will be the first hotel with a new opening since I’ve been here. There’s opportunity for lodging tax. It’s also bringing an additional demographic to Carbondale."
A bed and breakfast called the Euclid House did open in Carbondale a few years ago.
Stewart says tourism is increasing in Carbondale and the existing 150 hotel rooms in town are reaching capacity. In 2014, the town’s lodging tax was up 17 percent over the previous year, an indicator of healthy visitation.
Back at the Marble Distilling Company, construction continues. In its first year, the owners expect to produce 1200 cases of vodka made from Colorado grains. Connie Baker says sensible growth is key.
"Our idea is to start small and local and then maybe grow regionally, taking it up to the Vail corridor and up to Aspen."
They plan to distribute to local bars, restaurants and liquor stores in the Valley and eventually expand to the Denver market and beyond.