The Rum Doctor Is In
While owner Greg Starr’s Ph.D. isn’t in alcohol distillation, after eight years – coincidentally the approximate time most complete a doctoral program – and one smooth silver rum later, Greg has earned his honorary “Rum Doctor” title.
Geek Spirits is a family-run operation that includes Greg, his wife, Sherial, and their 12-year-old son, Connor.
As Boulder’s first rum distillery, the Starr’s made sure to fulfill their responsibility and deliver, by perfecting their product before sharing with the public.
Sherial says they have experimented with a variety of mashes in their kitchen, fermenting with different types of molasses and yeast…and tasting how they blend and interact. That process went on for years before the Starrs were confident in their proprietary blend.
“The starting material (molasses and sugar cane juice) is really expensive, but the flavor you get from it is so well worth it…you want that sustainable quality for consistency,” says Greg.
Not only does the Geek Spirit recipe deliver a smooth, high quality rum, it also carries a light butterscotch smell that makes the drinking experience all the more fantastic.
Making liquor is a complex process in which every variable has the potential to change the flavor of the end product. Outside of the recipe, the still itself greatly determines taste and drinkability. Greg researched and operated several stills before deciding on bringing “Einstein” – a large copper still from Germany – to the distillery.
Getting “Einstein” to Boulder was a mess, according to Greg. The oil spill off the coast of Texas left the beautiful contraption at sea for a month until the harbor was cleared. Then “Einstein” was put on a train to Denver and trucked to the distillery. Upon arriving in Boulder, it was discovered no one had a tool to remove the bolts holding the custom-crate – which housed the still – to the truck. So they axed the heads off of the fasteners to set it free. After that, the forklift’s fork wasn’t big enough to handle the cooker and moving the massive still became a hands-on experience. When all was said and done, “Einstein” was put together and taken a part multiple times to perfect the entire system.
“The good thing is we learned a lot about how everything works, we’ve taken almost every piece off of it at least once, we know it inside and out,” says Greg. Ironically, Greg’s Ph.D. is in electrical engineering not mechanical.
“Fortunately they force you to take some mechanical classes during undergrad years, it’s come in handy, especially how thermo-dynamics coincides with the steam aspect of making rum,” says Greg.
You can pick up Geek Spirits Silver Rum at select area liquor stores or come by the distillery to grab a bottle and try the “Geek Old Fashioned” signature drink developed by The Bitter Bar’s owner and renowned bartender James Lee, or a green juice cocktail courtesy of Pressery juices.
Greg and Sherial invite you to sit back, relax, have a drink and hopefully watch them work at their tasting room, which provides a panoramic view of the connected distillery.