10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company: Alumni Story

Ryan Thompson and Christian Avignon share the story of launching their distillery in Vail, Colorado, and how their time at Moonshine University prepared them for the realities of the process. See what they learned, the contacts they made, and the ongoing support they have access to as alumni of Moonshine University.

About 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company

10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company pays homage to the patriotic men of 10th who brought diversity, courage, and hope to the Rocky Mountains when they arrived in the 1940s to train just a few miles south of what is now Vail. They were part of the greatest generation of men, wanting to make each day count and each day better than the last. The mentality they had was strong after being shaped form the rigors of mountain warfare, their egos humble.

The business also serves as an extension of the mountain lifestyle, bringing together the old with the new. Generation after generation, men and women alike, all share this same passion, enjoying it for a day, weekend, lifetime, or somewhere in between. No matter how long it’s embraced the combination of friends, mountains, memories and spirits. bring people together like no other.

To encourage these relationships, to embrace the mountain lifestyle and honor the 10th Mountain soldiers who inspired our way of life. 10th Mountain Whiskey & Spirit Company is a tribute to the 10th Mountain soldier and those who enjoy the mountain lifestyle.


10th mountain

About our 6-Day Distiller Course

Join 30+ industry experts under one roof for an intensive, practical, and hands-on learning experience unlike any other in the world. This six-day course combines technical spirits training and business management education for start-ups, industry professionals, and enthusiasts looking for a career in the distilling industry. Designed and taught by distillery operators, industry insiders, and world-renowned master distillers, this course exposes attendees to the realities of day-to-day distilling operations – from laying the first brick to getting a finished product on the shelf. Each day will focus on a different set of distilling skills and considerations, complimented by a panel of industry experts who will provide you with their unique insider perspective. Topics will cover everything from developing your business plan and constructing your distillery, to navigating regulatory entities, to developing and marketing your brand story. We’ll also explore equipment selection, manufacturing and distribution channels, financial considerations, and other significant challenges and opportunities in the business.

Of course, you won’t miss out on any of the fun stuff: you’ll get to explore the science of spirits production while getting your hands dirty distilling whiskey, rum, vodka, and gin, exploring bridge spirits at our on-campus lab. We’ll explore the history, category styles, production methods, and distillation processes, as well as mash bills, maceration, fermenting, distilling, and finishing. Tours and networking receptions – including visits to Vendome Copper & Brass Works facility and Copper & Kings Distillery – are scheduled throughout the week to further enrich your professional and learning experiences. In addition to gaining industry and personal connections to last a lifetime, you can look forward to a brief graduation ceremony where you’ll get to bottle the very whiskey you helped create – and toast to a week well spent!

See our full list of course offerings here.


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