Master Distiller, Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey

Rob Dietrich is Master Distiller at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, one of the state’s first whiskeys since Prohibition, which was created by distilling legend Jess Graber. Dietrich is responsible for every aspect of the 100 percent malt whiskey’s “grain-to-bottle” production and is committed to maintaining Graber’s original recipe, artisanal methods and his handcrafted approach to distillation. Dietrich oversees sourcing primarily Colorado malted barley, fermenting and distilling the mash, managing the barrel aging process and blending and cutting the spirit to proof with Rocky Mountain water. In addition, he supervises the all-volunteer bottling brigades at the distillery in Denver. Dietrich is also personally in charge of creating the distillery’s famed Snowflake editions, which have “Stranafans” lining up all night prior to its release.

Joining Stranahan’s in 2006, Dietrich learned the art and science of distillation from Graber, whom he proudly calls his mentor. Graber originally was a local volunteer firefighter who happened to have a moonshining hobby. He responded to a call by George Stranahan, founder of Flying Dog Brewery, that his barn was ablaze. After the fire was extinguished, the two got to talking and learned that they shared a love of the outdoors and whiskey. Graber started experimenting with distilling whiskey mashes made by Flying Dog. All the ideas came together, and in 2002, Graber founded Stranahan’s and perfected his 100 percent malt whiskey.

Previously, Dietrich spent 10 years in the music business with Bill Graham Presents and as a freelance agent for venues like Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre and The Fillmore in San Francisco. Dietrich is a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and served from 1992 to 1995. His two combat tours in Somalia and relief operations in Haiti shaped his life-affirming philosophy.

A native of Montrose, Colorado, where Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey sources some of its grain, Dietrich enjoys rebuilding vintage cars, motorcycles and trucks, including a 1937 Dodge used at the Stranahan’s distillery. He also has a passion for long distance motorcycle trips across the U.S., Argentina, Chile, Thailand and Baja, Mexico, as well as hunting, camping and hiking.