A few years back a small group of entrepreneurs from Utah gathered in my office to start the weekend with a Craft cocktail hour. As usual, we were discussing what was going to be the next big thing in start-up business.
I had just turned 50, so I was interested in talking about pursuing ventures that were in line with our life passions, and what we could do to influence our community in a positive way before our time was up!
As the conversation, and the drinks, continued to flow the group discussed the things we found to be important in living our lives … like living purposefully in wild Utah among the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains, enjoying all the outdoor recreation Utah has to offer, and imbibing in fine hand crafted spirits.
The group was just beginning to discover the history of spirits in Utah and were discussing the pioneers that settled in Utah and made whiskey here in 1848! We were discussing Hugh Moon and his whiskey, when I proclaimed that I knew precisely what the gang should do. “Let’s build a world class distillery in Salt Lake City … we may not make a dime, but at least we’ll be pursuing our passions and drinking the finest hand-crafted spirits we could make with our own two hands. And if we do make some money, we can use the profits to influence our community by supporting non-profit organizations that have goals in line with our own.”
The rest they say is ancient history.
I invite you to stop by for a tour and tasting!
To your good health,
When we set out to find the ideal land on which to build our distillery, we were armed with one critical piece of advice from an old moonshiner I had met in my travels and education in Kentucky. “It’s the water, stupid!” this old moonshiner proclaimed, when giving his advice on the most important ingredient essential in making great liquor! So it would be!
The search would end with a gift from heaven (and mother nature)… a property with an Artesian water well! The well would mark the spot where we would build our world class distillery. What’s more, the land was once the farm of Utah’s very first distiller of record, Hugh Moon. Hugh produced whiskey in Salt Lake City for early Mormon Pioneers in 1850’s.
The snow melt water of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains flows gently through the earth to our Artesian water well, shedding impurities and attracting the minerals that make the pure and enriched taste of our brands possible. This year’s snow is next year’s whiskey!
Along with the heaven sent Artesian well and the historical distilling past of Hugh Moon came a charming old brick home with a storied past of its own. Legend has it that during a gunfight on the front porch the flying bullets that killed the owner also left dents on the bricks of his house, and there you have it. The Dented Brick Distillery got its name in tribute to the rich and colorful history of our land at the foot of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. As for the dented bricks… in tribute to the the fallen well driller, we took them down one by one and they now are part of our distillery.
Once we discovered the existence of the Pioneer and Distiller Hugh Moon, we did a deep dive into Utah’s rich distilling history. Turns out, Utah’s distilling history goes back as far as Kentucky’s, and has iconic figures at least as interesting as Jack Daniels. Hugh and his entire family were the first converts to Mormonism from overseas. In May 1840, the family departed Liverpool and sailed for the New York harbor, with plans to travel overland to Nauvoo. It took nearly a year to travel from NY to IL. The family finally arriving April 16, 1841. It is not clear that Hugh was distilling in Nauvoo, but in 1857 there is reference in Henry Moon’s diary that Hugh lost $100 worth of mash in a rainstorm.
In addition to Hugh Moon. there were distillers L.W. Hardy, who shared the Salt Lake Tribune advertising campaign, and Howard Badley.
There are other interesting figures that we are discovering as we read the Moon Family diaries, and references to other documents from there. We look forward to re-releasing these historic labels and whiskeys in 2020. Hope you’ll join us in this project! Take a tour, buy a bottle, buy a barrel, or become an owner in Dented Brick and our historic whiskey project!
Finally, in another in a long string of coincidental findings that point to the fact that Dented Brick was meant to be, we found that Hugh Moon actually owned the property where Dented Brick is now located!
It was a large farm Hugh purchased in 1856. He grew sugar cane on the farm, and likely rye and other fermentable ingredients, and had pigs that he fed his spent grain.