Marc Christensen founded Dented Brick DistilleryⓇ in Salt Lake City, which sells award-winning premium craft spirits using its own on-site artesian well water, but barely scratches the surface of the distillery’s incredible history dating back to Utah’s premier distiller. , Hugh Moon, who produced rye whiskey for Mormon pioneers when he traveled from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City.
Christensen grew up in Idaho’s wine country, which gave him a lifelong affinity for wine and spirits. He attended the University of Utah with plans to return to Idaho after graduation and work in the wine industry, but his path took a different turn. One of his inventions led to a successful barricade business, but over time he aspired to open a distillery.
One day, over a cocktail, a friend offers him to take over the management of the barricade company while Christensen pursues his dream of opening a distillery. Christensen accepted this friend’s offer and today the friend runs the barricade business, and he is also part owner of the distillery.
Christensen went to distilling school and spent a lot of time in Kentucky, where he befriended distillers at the Kentucky-based Buffalo Trace Distillery. “Some of the guys who work on the floor took me under their wing and showed me how to do what we need here [at Dented Brick]way beyond what I learned in distillation school,” Christensen said.
In 2014, Christensen began looking for land to build a distillery in Salt Lake City. After a long search, his real estate agent finally found the perfect property – on the plot was a small brick house with well drilling rigs scattered around.
The seller was a well driller and artesian well expert, and there was a 280 foot artesian well on site. The well has strictly underground water pressure, and with a head pressure of 28 feet, the artesian well can shoot water 28 feet into the air, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Christensen explained. .
“That’s the beauty for us, the water doesn’t contain any chlorine, fluoride, bromine or any of the city chemicals that you get in city water that interfere with fermentation.”
Water from the artesian well has a mineral content very similar to Kentucky spring water, making it a go-to for the distillery and its bourbon concept. “A lot of the flavor and body in our spirits is due to well water and the interaction with yeast and the esters created by the yeast during fermentation – that’s a big deal.”
Change name to ‘Dented Brick’
Before Christensen demolished the brick house to erect the distillery in its place, he and his investors walked through the old house and someone discovered that a lot of the bricks on the front of the house had bullet holes. Intrigued, they conducted research and learned that one of the well drillers named Ron Larsen, was in a shootout on the porch, and was shot and killed.
The distillery was originally called Salt Lake Distillery, but in Larsen’s honor the name was changed to Dented Brick Distillery. Rumor has it that to this day, the ghost of Larsen roams the halls of the distillery, which has become a popular location for paranormal investigations and ghost tours, particularly in October.
Build a distillery for barrel aging
Unlike a rented warehouse, the custom-designed distillery was built from the ground up and the building is extremely safe. Christensen got a waiver from the city – he didn’t want to install insulation, heating or cooling in the main part of the building because he wanted to age his whiskey on site, and the whiskey barrels have to be temperature cycled . Christensen explained that barrel aging requires the natural changes in temperature that occur with the changing seasons, without heating and air conditioning interrupting the process.
Dented Brick officially opened in March 2016, and most of the bricks from the old house have been carefully preserved and integrated into the new distillery. “Some of the bricks with bullet holes are built into the entrance to the distillation chamber, and we built the retail counter from the bricks of the original house.”
Christensen also discovered that a distiller named Hugh Moon once owned the property. Moon was a distiller from Liverpool, England, and his family was the first to convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from overseas.
Moon and his family first settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, where he sold whiskey to Nauvoo residents, but moved with Brigham Young to Salt Lake City. Today, many of Moon’s descendants are very supportive of telling his story and recreating his labels, Christensen said.
Range of high-end and artisanal products
Dented Brick offers two product lines: an economy (artisanal) line and a premium line, and each line contains vodka, gin, rum and whiskey, as well as specialty products.
The premium range includes Roofraiser VodkaⓇ, Moon’s BestⓇ 100% Rye Whisky, Antelope Island RumⓇ and Antelope Island Red RumⓇ, specializing in pineapple, passion fruit glitter rums and Coconut Disco-Nut made with “edible rums”. shine.” Additionally, Dented Brick is excited to be working on a super premium line. They are also working with a distillery in Mexico to begin importing bulk tequila, which Dented Brick will bottle locally.
Dent Brick Tours and Tastings
Christensen said most people don’t know much about the distillation process; however, the Dented Brick tour, followed by a tasting, is a great educational opportunity for people to see the grain-to-glass process where it goes from raw grain to mill, to brewing, to fermentation, to distillation. At the end of the tour, people can do a tasting and see which flavors come from what, he said.
The distillery is one of the largest in the city, which is one of the reasons people are so impressed with the grandeur of the facility. “They don’t realize how big we really are. They walk into our little retail store, I open the downstairs door and they go, “Wow!
Dented Brick is a proud vendor and spiritual sponsor of the first annual Salt City Wine & Dine event on August 27 at the 20-acre La Caille estate, an event presented by The Salt Lake Tribune. At this extraordinary event, Dented Brick will showcase its products to a wide audience, connect with attendees and encourage them to visit the distillery for a tour and tasting.
For more information on tours, tastings and distillery products, contact Dented Brick directly. To purchase tickets for the event, click here.