Local distillers create whisky honoring Andy Clark.
Whisky distillers have a lot of options for charring the barrel that will age their spirit. When the choice is a barrel that’s been charred with notes from friends, customers, and colleagues who knew and loved Moxie Bread Co. founder Andy Clark — who died unexpectedly last year — there’s likely going to be some spirit in the spirit that’s being created.
Spirit Hound Distillers in Lyons and Dry Land Distillers in Longmont are honoring Clark’s legacy by crafting such a meaningful drink, imparted with memories and treasured notes from loved ones. The highly regarded local distillers had connections to Clark, as many in the community did, and wanted to do something to support his family and the causes he cared about.
When the resulting whisky is ready, it will be a sip full of appreciation for Clark. Even the bottle’s artwork will have special significance. It was designed by an artist who was a former Moxie employee and grain miller. “She really captured the essence of Andy and his love of music, community, and grain,” said Laura Fessenden, Moxie’s director of operations. “They’re either going to call it Andy’s Barrelfire, Clark’s Barrelfire, or just Barrelfire. It’s going to be a very limited run. I imagine the bottles will go quickly.”
The finished product will be sold as a benefit, with the proceeds going either to Clark’s family or to the Colorado Grain Chain, a nonprofit organization dedicated to grain education. Clark helped found this organization and retained a seat on its board until his passing.
Keep an eye on Moxie’s social channels and website for a fundraiser that will happen in July (The exact date wasn’t announced at press time.). (k. The event will include both the sale and a silent auction. And of course, there will be music — lots of music — and plenty of food.
Fessenden, who worked closely with Clark, remembered Clark as she talked about the benefit. “He was an incredible employer. We had a great working relationship. I considered him to be a mentor, and we got to be pretty good friends. One thing I loved about him is that he empowered me to embrace my role. I felt like he trusted me.”
Fessenden said that his impact was even greater because he created such a sense of community in Moxie’s three locations and beyond. This was particularly true during Covid and then after the Marshall Fire when he led Moxie as part of a larger effort to ensure people were fed.
“During Covid Andy decided to bring in beans and corn and rice and chicken and pasta and started making lasagna and soups to feed the community. I feel like Moxie became a one-stop shop because of that and a lot of things we still do. If anyone was going to do something like that, it was going to be Andy.”
Clark’s effort to feed and support the community is not only more valued after his passing, his legacy is still living on today. It’s present not only through the food at his three locations but the spirit of his staff as they reach across the counter to hand you bread or whatever else you bought. This same spirit will make the fundraiser a warm, congenial, music- and food-filled success. We’ll see you there.