Colorado Springs should see another local spirit on liquor store shelves and in bars within four to six months: MountainShine (mountainshine.net) flavored moonshines in Honeysuckle Pale, Carolina Cherry, Heirloom Apple, Big City Citrus and Peach Cobbler.
Victor Matthews of Paragon Culinary School and the Black Bear Restaurant, the subject of our recent Bourbon Brothers cover story ("Barrel roll," Jan. 22), is behind the venture, crafting as Black Bear Bottling Co. For reasons related to liquor laws, Matthews has stepped away from daily operations at Bourbon Brothers, though he remains a part owner of Bourbon Brothers Holding Corp.
Given all of Matthews' other activity, Black Bear Restaurant ceased operations the day after its 15-year anniversary, on March 17. It will operate as a private events center and continue serving as a second campus for Paragon while the distillery gets underway. Matthews ultimately envisions a 600-gallon still on-site as well as a rick house for aging bourbon.
Breckenridge Distillery will provide a base white dog (un-aged bourbon) for MountainShine, to which Matthews will add fruits and botanicals at his bottling facility at 4595 Hilton Pkwy., #202, next to Paragon's offices. MountainShine will retail in the $20 range at 100 proof, "meant to compete not just with moonshine but also flavored vodkas and rums," says Matthews, who calls the product line "elevated white whiskey ... just shake it with ice, and drink."
When Sasha Livingston was 12, her 20-year-old cousin Maria died from cystic fibrosis. Maria had been nicknamed "Ughies" by the family "because when she was born and the doctor brought her in, her mom said she looked so ugly that she looked like a frog," says Livingston."
Maria "grew up beautiful," though, teaching Livingston, now 26, that "no matter what is happening in life, you can always handle it with love."
Hence the branding, complete with frog logo, on Ughies Coffee Shop's Facebook page. "You can get coffee anywhere," says the page. "Ughies is about love, time and support. Coffee for the cure!"
Located inside Eden Salon & Barbershop (12 E. Kiowa St., 217-5692) but open to the general public, Ughies donates a percentage of sales to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Livingston, who worked in coffee shops during high school and college, says she sources only local and organic products, including her milk, plus beans roasted at Colorado Coffee Merchants. She currently offers drip coffee, tea and espresso drinks, with light snacks likely soon.