Steamboat Whiskey pivots business model and closes downtown tasting room

Steamboat Whiskey pivots business model and closes downtown tasting room

Owners Jessica and Nathan Newhall have opened the doors to the Steamboat Whiskey Co. Tasting Room at 1103 Lincoln Ave. in December 2019. Newhall confirmed on Thursday September 15 that the tasting room has been closed as the couple pivot to a distribution model focused on their Warrior brand of whiskey.
Jean F Pilote from Russell / Steamboat and today

The doors to Steamboat Whiskey Co.’s downtown tasting room have closed, and for the next few Saturdays, owners Nathan and Jessica Newhall will be selling their inventory as the business moves in a new direction.

“The Steamboat Whiskey Co. bar and restaurant is closing – well, it’s effectively closed,” Jessica Newhall said earlier this week. “Now we sell bottles because we have a huge inventory of all the wonderful products we make.”

The 2,000 square foot bar and restaurant has become a downtown Steamboat Springs staple since it opened in December 2019. That’s when the Newhalls expanded operations to Steamboat Whiskey Co., located at 55 11th St. Located right across from the production facility that produced Steamboat Distillery products years ago.

Last week a large mobile sales sign appeared on the building and on Thursday September 15 the owners confirmed that they were closing the location but would continue to produce award-winning Warrior whiskey in a larger facility.

“We decided to pivot the business to a retail model and stick with our Warrior brand of whiskey, which really got us started,” Newhall said. “It was our first product, so we will continue to manufacture it in a larger facility in Colorado Springs.”

He said the recipe and process would remain the same, but noted a co-packing agreement with a larger distillery that will continue to produce and distribute Warrior whiskey to retailers.

Jessica Newhall said several factors led to this decision.

“I think it was a combination,” he said. “The fallout from COVID, and the housing crisis, which has been exacerbated by Covid and the lack of skilled workers, which has also been exacerbated by Covid.”

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He said they were struggling to find workers and the pressures that came with growing businesses presented many challenges.

“It’s just been my husband and I for about 18 months,” Newhall said. “We have a 14-month-old baby, so we want to find a little more work-life balance, and it’s difficult to manage a busy manufacturing plant, restaurant, bar and terrace. We were no exception to the great resignation.

He said the couple also wanted to focus on building the Warrior brand of whiskey, which they originally planned to do.

“We had a lot of fun with the bar, and then we expanded the bar,” says Jessica Newhall. “Now we are trying to bring the focus back to our original purpose.”

At this time, that goal is to liquidate bar and restaurant items with remaining inventory Newhall plans to be at the Tasting Room, 1103 Lincoln Ave., Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

“We only sell bottles and other people may want to buy from the bar,” Newhall said. “The community has been great and the people have been great…we’re really happy about that.”

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