Made in Utah

Waterpocket Distillery—Long-Lost Spirits are the Guiding Force Behind Utah’s Newest Craft Distillery

Waterpocket Distillery set to explore Utah’s niche spirit market.


Alan Scott works his copper Mueller Pot Still from Germany. Photos by Steven Vargo.

Like many craft distillers, Julia and Alan Scott’s path to creating Waterpocket Distillery has been long and winding. Yet, like the landscapes in Capitol Reef National Park that the distillery is named for, the Scott’s have trail-blazed into the often unknown nature of distilling in Utah, using long-forgotten recipes and spirits as a guide.

“Our goal is to make spirits as wild, untamed and fascinating as the Waterpocket Fold itself,” explain the Scott’s. An in-person tour with Alan brings this promise to life. Having started the process to become a distillery four years ago, the couple brings both professional technique to the project (Julia is a chemical engineer with a PhD in biochemistry) and a love for experimentation that started Alan brewing as a hobby hobby back in college. He now uses his vast skill set and love for liquid adventure to create the Waterpocket product line full time.

Housed on Printer’s Row in West Valley City, the centerpieces of the Waterpocket warehouse are, unsurprisingly, the stills—two gorgeous copper vessels from Mueller Pot Stills in Germany. One primarily produces the fermented products, allowing more tails and heads cuts, while the other turns out liqueurs and small batch items. But at the heart of the distillery is the culinary background the Scott’s developed while living overseas and tasting many spirits mostly unknown to the U.S. market.

It’s this niche that Alan hopes to tap in Utah—from local liquor lovers and mixologists seeking rare and retro spirits, to professional bakers using the Long Lost Oread herbal liqueur in baked goods, or beautiful craft soda flavors highlighting Toadstool Notom Amaro. This fall, Waterpocket Distillery will even be teaming up with Harmons for a series of cooking classes featuring new creations such as a sticky ribs recipe made with Robber’s Roost Light Whiskey.

Waterpocket will also continually renew and refine their offerings with spirits reflecting old classics, new discoveries, and elements from near and far. In addition to those above, current releases include a blanco rum and a coffee rum liqueur made with house-roasted coffee beans.

Beginning in late August, several of Waterpocket Distillery’s products will begin appearing on Utah DABC liquor store shelves. Until then, the distillery is open to the public for sales, and distillery tours can be arranged via their website.

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