I had the incredible pleasure to be chosen to join the Something Independent Founder’s Series filmmakers, which is a project Chuck Sullivan started to highlight both colorado folks who are doing what they love and are passionate about, along with a local filmmaker who captures and tells their story, or in my case, just a little nugget of who these people are. I had the honor to head down to Buena Vista with Chuck, Ally, Cat and Jeff for a day, really just a little moment, to capture a little bit about Lenny and Amy and their Deerhammer Distillery Company. For the full story/blog and beautifully crafted piece head to SI’s piece here. Here’s just a small touch of what I saw //
Joy. Pure, unaltered, little kid joy. It’s the feeling you’re told as a kid to go out in the world and find, but then as soon as you become a teen everyone steers you away from in search of this unattainable ‘success’ we call chasing paychecks and stacking cash. When we dropped in to the Arkansas River, that was all you saw from the entire being that makes up Lenny Eckstein, joy. Lenny and Amy moved to Buena Vista because they wanted to. Out of a desire to live in a place where mountains, river, and the purest air smashed into each other. And distilling was this passion that started small and kept getting watered. As it grew, so did this realization that it was taking over a majority of thoughts spinning in Lenny’s head. He had no choice but to listen.
And he listened. And that, that moment when he dropped everything and said, “This is it.” It was in that moment when he found a deeper, more satisfying joy. It generally takes something like 2 years before you get whiskey to a place where it becomes profitable, but who cares when you’re chasing dreams. Lenny and Amy are making booze, riding the river, and taking evening bike tours with their pup, Rye, around Buena Vista, which lays in the Arkansas Valley surrounded by the Collegiate Peaks and is a town filled with good people. It’s not all sparkles and shine, but the moments of joy are frequent and strong.
It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by such a rad community of people chasing after what their hearts desire. Thank you to Colorado for such a warm welcome after just a year that we’ve been replanted here. Last night, at the premiere event at Local 46, standing on stage listening to Lenny and Amy talk about their recent pregnancy news, how they went on a trip and he was constantly thinking about getting home to try another version of gin, about how life handed them such a perfect storm of opportunity, it felt so good. Humble people the Eckstein’s are, and whether Deerhammer Distilling is successful in the long run or not, it really doesn’t matter, because they chose the road less traveled, and for that, I have the deepest respect.
Cheers Lenny and Amy. Congratulations on the new addition to your workforce. I can only wish you both the most grand of lives. Thank you for your inspiration – I’ll be bringing everyone I know to your main street building, to try the whiskey, but mostly to soak up the intensely good juju you all give off.
Until next time — godspeed.
Be sure to check out the beautifully designed full post with more pictures and a lot more story/graphics over at the official post here.