Believe it or not, walking through the doors of Jackson Hole Still Works was like walking into an old friend’s house—except the house smelled of corn and oats and there were big stainless-steel machines all around. What we mean is, we didn’t feel like strangers. Nikki Kaufman, Travis Goodman and Chas Marsh are the folks that make up the team that is Jackson Hole Still Works. Right off the bat there was laughter and an obvious, almost contagious excitement about the business. One could almost feel the excitement as clearly as the cold, freshly made raspberry jam Moscow mule passed around as the official commencement of the tour.
In the summer of 2015, Jackson Hole Still Works officially opened. It’s a 3,000 square foot hub for creation, tours, and tastings south of town and is a must visit for anyone looking for a healthy dose of excellent vodka, gin, whiskey and for those with a passion for sustainability business practices. Chas Marsh and Travis Goodman are the brains behind the business. Two best friends who are now co-owners and partners that share an equal passion for fine cocktails. In serendipitous timing, they added a feminine touch to the team right as they were feeling a third set of hands was necessary to properly run the business. That feminine touch happens to come from Nikki Kaufman, who works as their director of sales and marketing.
“High- quality, small batch, locally produced’ are all phrases used to describe the inspiration for Jackson Hole Still Works.
What you might notice right away from the packaging is the creative artwork. Travis and Chas both grew up within an artistic household, so they know they wanted to incorporate the arts in some shape or form. So, every year, their Highwater Vodka features artwork done by locals who submit their work through their partnership with the Art Association of Jackson Hole. Not only does the winner’s design get placed on the bottle, but they also win $2,000 and a six-bottle case of the Highwater Vodka. And for the Great Grey Gin? That design stays in place on the label, which is “Seeing in Color” done by local artist Ann Fox.
One of the exceptionally fascinating aspects of Jackson Hole Still Works is the grain-to-glass movement they practice and implement on a day to day basis. Grain to glass means almost exactly what it sounds like. Marsh and Goodman get all the corn from a farmer in Bryon, Wyoming and all their oats from farmer in Powell, Wyoming. After the actual creation of the vodka and gin, there is a great deal of leftover product that the distillery has no use for; one of these by-products is spent grain. Yeast is extracted from each grain by breaking down the cell walls of the grain, leaving a yeast-less “spent” grain.
During each batch of vodka or gin that is made, some 6,000-7,000 pounds of spent grain is leftover. That’s roughly, 25,000 to 30,000 pounds of spent grain every month! Because Marsh and Goodman couldn’t stand the thought of just trashing all these left-over grains, they continuously donate them to Haderlie Farms in Thayne, Wyoming, who uses them for animal feed.
Fun fact: Marsh and Goodman bought a pig from Haderlie Farms that grew up eating the spent grains used to create product at Jackson Hole Still Works - and the circle of life and the business continues.
This article has been edited for length and clarity.
Learn more about the local artists featured on the bottles, spirits, and where to purchase bottle of Highwater Vodka and Great grey Gin. And if you're feeling parched and even hungry consider stopping by these restaurants. Thank you to Chas Marsh and Travis Goodman for welcoming the Chamber into the process that made Jackson Hole Still Works what it is today.
This story is a part of #humansofjhchamber: The campaign places a focus on the faces of our local businesses and nonprofits. Learn about their inspirations, why they got started in their industry, and more! Find the Chamber on Instagram, @jhchamber. For information about the program, please contact Director of Membership, Elisabeth Rohrbach, firstname.lastname@example.org or 307.201.2301.
Written by Operations Manager, Riley Frances Boone, email@example.com or 307-201-2303.