Chad Brown: Cheyenne Trailblazer

Tucked away in a small Wyoming town in Laramie County sits Pine Bluffs Distilling. This place, co-founded and co-owned by Chad Brown, is where the spirit of Wyoming is distilled into every drop of alcohol produced and served within the welcoming establishment at the end of a dirt road. It's a business that started on a farm between cousins with a mission to support their families and local farmers.

The Roots of Pine Bluffs Distilling

The distillery is known for producing a range of spirits, including various whiskeys, bourbon, gin, and vodka. The distillation process involves several steps, including mashing, fermenting, and running the liquid through a still. The result is an array of high-quality spirits that showcase the unique terroir of the region through the use of locally sourced grains.

When he started this venture with his family, they were not only going to support their families but also support local farmers as well, and give them another option to sell their grain beside the commodity market. This connection to their community helps the local farmers take pride in Pine Bluff's products, as well as their crops, bringing the whole community together.

"Last year, the farthest the grain traveled was about 23 miles," said Brown. "When we clean our grain, we give all the weed seeds and broken kernels to farmers and ranchers with goats to offset their feed cost. Then, our distiller's mash goes to a local rancher to supplement his feed bill for the year. So it allows him to have a bigger herd than he could without our distiller's mash."

Seeing how Wyoming is in a high desert, they are also committed to using the least amount of water possible. So, they purchased a 6,000-gallon water tank they use for the condensers and fermenters. This sustainable approach showcases their commitment to not just running a business, but also making a positive impact on the region. And the community has responded, supporting their business by offering their spirits in liquor stores, restaurants, and bars.

Creating a Welcoming Space

Pine Bluffs Distilling isn't just a distillery — it's a community gathering point. It's not uncommon for families to bring their kids, host family events, and enjoy a sense of togetherness here.

"When visitors come down the dirt road, they see the big red building and their initial thoughts are, wow, I didn't expect this in Wyoming," said Brown. “So it's humbling that people see what we're trying to build here, and we are building something pretty cool."

The distillery is also a Harvest Hosts location. This RV camping membership offers overnight camping locations at farms, wineries, breweries, attractions, and more. Campers join for a $100 annual fee for access to places to stay with no camping fees and are encouraged to support local businesses.

During the Harvest Host season, Pine Bluffs Distilling sees about 400 visitors who stay in their parking lot, all looking for a unique experience. The distillery is one of 4,909 locations across the state where they can spend the night in RVs and campers and support the local business. Based on positive reviews, Browns' establishment is a top 5% destination for the app.

"I would say 99.9% of our Harvest Host visitors come in. It's super fun to watch these people from all across the country meet here in Pine Bluffs, find something in common with everyone here, and have a great time," said Brown.

Planting Roots in Laramie County

Brown found the perfect place to raise his family and grow a business. He is on a mission to change the perception that bourbon is only made in Kentucky. While he doesn't have a family legacy of making bourbon, and they are not a 10th-generation moonshiner, they are forging their own trail in a spot where all the grain is grown locally.

"We're not importing anything from anywhere else in the country. It's right here in Laramie County, and we want to make that mark for a long time," he said.

Beyond business, Cheyenne is home and a great place for people to visit. Visitors can immerse themselves in the local arts and music scene, explore local breweries and distilleries, enjoy diverse cuisine, and enjoy the vibrant art scene. The region boasts outdoor activities, and Pine Bluffs Distilling allows visitors to experience the agriculture of the eastern part of Laramie County.

Brown and Pine Bluffs Distilling exemplifies the spirit of Wyoming and is the true definition of trailblazing. Their dedication to local sourcing, community involvement, and sustainability serves as an inspiration not just for the region but for all who seek to create a positive impact in their communities.