Whiskey bar

Fort Collins whiskey bar offers 1,700 varieties

Rachel Harris pours drinks at The Whisk(e)y's second anniversary celebration in Old Town Fort Collins on Thursday.  When the bar first opened it offered around 500 whiskeys and now offers over 1,700.

A 1.75 liter crystal bottle is displayed in the center of The Whisk(e)y.

You can get 1.5 ounces of liquor inside for $800.

A 6-litre version of the same liquor – Macallan’s rare seven-barrel blend called M – sold for $628,205 at a Hong Kong auction in 2014, setting a Guinness World Record for whiskey the most expensive.

“A lot of people in suits and ties (order it),” said Octavio “Tavo” Bernal, Whisk(e)y’s director of operations. “Actually, it’s selling. We are on our fifth bottle of the year.

M is part of an inventory worth an estimated $1.5 million at the bar in Old Town Fort Collins. The Whisk(e)y, which celebrated its second anniversary this month, claims to have the largest whiskey selection in the state with more than 1,700 varieties.

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Staff believe Canon in Seattle and Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington, DC, are the only American bars with a larger whiskey selection.

At a more reasonable $6 per shot, the bar’s most popular whiskey is Jameson Black Barrel Reserve. The cheapest drink is a $3 glass of Rebel Yell, and Cinnamon Fireball is even a regular order, most often by college students.

“We’re not afraid to say the F-word (of whiskeys) here,” joked Rachel Harris, managing director in charge of whiskey purchasing.

“As a buyer, I’ve probably tasted more whiskeys than most people will ever have in their lifetime.”

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Harris will handle any whiskey offered by a distributor.

When a customer requests a certain brand, bartenders can check a database to see if its in stock. If they don’t have whiskey requested, they’re usually sold out or it’s not distributed in Colorado – it’s illegal to sell whiskeys that aren’t distributed in the state.

The bar opened with 455 whiskeys, scotches and bourbons in stock. Whisk(e)y was inspired by the Cascades Whiskey Bar at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, which has long claimed the largest whiskey selection in the state and currently has over 900 in stock listed on a menu of 21 pages.

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“We have exceeded all of our expectations since we opened,” said Whisk(e)y owner Jimmy Katapodis. “We may even have gone a bit too far.”

Jimmy is the son of Tony and Angie Katapodis, who founded the adjacent Tony’s Bar & Rooftop in 1977. The family left Greece when Jimmy was 3 years old.

“A lot of our old Tony regulars now come here,” Jimmy said.

Jimmy wasn’t always a whiskey connoisseur. Neither is his wife, Ashley, who is now particularly fond of bourbons.

“I remember I couldn’t believe someone would pay $200 for a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue,” Jimmy said.

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Trips to Kentucky distilleries and relentless research into the drink changed his mind. It also fueled his passion for starting the bar.

The Whisk(e)y even offers locker service and all 40 spaces are currently full, with groups of people typically sharing each locker space.

And it’s become a place for whiskeys of all types and price ranges. Even the name of the bar is a tribute to the drink’s differences: whiskey usually refers to scotch, while whiskey is the preferred spelling of Irish and American liquors.

“Whisky is a unifying spirit,” said Bernal, who also blends his own bar blends. “Whiskey is meant to be shared with your friends, loved ones and even strangers. It brings people together. »

Follow Jake Laxen on Twitter and Instagram @jacoblaxen.