In September of 2013 a devastating flood hit the Front Range of
Colorado (the area on the eastern side of the mountains). It was worse than any in known history. The town of
Lyons was cut off from civilization as the roads in all directions were
washed out. Much of the town was washed away or heavily damaged.The barrel of "flood rum" (Image via Facebook) Spirit
Hound Distillers was no exception. Now they are turning the tables on
the flood to help the town move forward again.
The young craft distillery (which was due to celebrate its first anniversary in October, 2013) is located just feet from the St. Vrain River, which is normally a fairly quiet bit of flowing water. On September 11 the skies opened up to dump more water on Northeastern Colorado than anyone would have predicted. The gentle river was transformed into a raging monster destroying whatever it found in its path.
When co-founder Matt Rooney walked back in to the building of the distillery after the flood waters had subsided he was faced with tons of damaged caused by two feet of water that had come rushing through. Somehow one barrel of rum had managed to survive, even though it had floated around in water, mud, and debris.
The official name of the rum is Mountain Bum Rum. Now it has become known as flood rum and is something of a symbol of the spirit of endurance and survival for the entire community. People have anxiously been asking Rooney when the rum would be finished aging and ready for sale. Now it is -- all 325 bottles worth.
Of the bottles now ready for sale, 25 of them are being set aside to help rebuild the town's fire department. The people of the fire department worked non-stop for four days to help the townsfolk to survive the disaster. While they toiled to help their friends and neighbors the fire station itself was demolished.
The first 25 bottles are up for silent auction with those that don't get auctioned off to be available for $100 each. The first bottle sold through the silent auction went for $1,000. The auction runs through New Year's Eve. The remaining bottles will be sold in the usual manner and a portion of those sales will also go to the fire department.
Spirit Hound Distillery (Image via Facebook)It is a unique form of fund-raising through the sale of a left over barrel of booze. The idea speaks to those of us who survived the flood, so people from all along the Front Range are clamoring to own a piece of this history.
"We are far from fine and so in order to keep that momentum going, that's why we launched our 'flood rum'," said Rooney in an interview with 9News.
For those who may be wondering -- all of the whiskey survived unscathed. However, it was said that you could have gone fishing in the tasting room. That's all fine and good, but where else are you going to find rum that was spent part of its time aging in flood waters?
While much of the town of Lyons is still broken, the spirit of the residents is not. Mother Nature may have taken a shot at Lyons, but now Lyons is roaring back -- fueled by one stubborn barrel of rum.
Sources: 9News, JustMalt, Spirit Hound Distillers, Facebook