Steamboat men bringing Dano’s Dangerous Tequila to the ‘Boat
February 15, 2019
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — For generations, Steamboat Springs has been known as the home of Champagne Powder, but now longtime residents Danny Thompson and Chris Timmerman hope the town will also be known for its world-class tequila.
How it's made
All of the tequilas with the Dano's label are made with raw agave, which takes eight to 12 years to mature before it can be harvested by hand. The agave is then cooked in the hacienda's long-used hornos — outdoor ovens. The age of the ovens helps give the final product its unique taste.
The agave is then shredded, and the juice called aguamiel is retrieved in the extraction process. Then, the aguamiel is fermented in large wooden barrels and diluted with natural spring water that comes from deep, volcanic springs. In Dano's case, only natural yeast is used in the fermenting process.
The product then goes through a distillation process before the final product is placed in virgin white oak barrels and allowed to mature. The duration of time spent in the barrel depends on the tequila — Reposado is aged for nine months and Añejo for about 18 months.
After the process is complete, the product is bottled, labeled and shipped to the U.S. to be distributed.
"The beginning of this company was down in Danny's basement up on Yahmonite," said Timmerman, chief executive officer at Dano’s Dangerous Tequila, Inc. "That's where he started infusing fresh pineapple, jalapeños and 100 percent agave blanco tequila."
For several years, Thompson shared his creations with friends, including Timmerman, at parties and other social gatherings.
"I was always over there for happy hours or parties he was throwing, " Timmerman said. "Everybody who drinks it says, 'Holy cow, man this is really good.' They also say it's really dangerous because you can't even taste the alcohol in the tequila because of the infusions. That's where the Dano's Dangerous Tequila (name) comes from."
Boosted by the response of friends, the two men headed south to Tequila, Mexico, where much of the world's agave is grown and tequila is created. The friends searched long and hard before finding the perfect fit at Hacienda De Reyes. The small, fourth-generation, family-run distillery has been producing tequila since 1840 in small batches, using the sweetest blue agave, adobe-built brick ovens called hornos, which are 180 years old, and copper stills.
Thompson knew almost immediately the tequila was perfect for his creations.
"We spent quite a bit of time down there and drank probably 200 different varieties of tequila from all the different haciendas," Timmerman said. "We kind of stumbled upon this young lady who had just inherited the second oldest tequila distillery in the world. It had been family owned the whole time, and she had inherited it from her grandfather.”
It didn't take long for Timmerman and Thompson to form a friendship with the owner of the distillery, Sylvia Reyes. Shortly after the meeting, the men partnered with the Hacienda to produce Dano's Dangerous Tequila.
Thanks to investors, the distillery has gone from three employees to nearly 73, and it now produces tequila under the Dano's label in the U.S. and the Reyes label in Mexico.
This year, out of field of more than 184 entries, Dano's Dangerous Tequila cleaned up in the SIP Awards where it brought home double gold medals for its pineapple jalapeño fresh fruit infusion, its Reposado tequila and for its Añejo tequila. Dano’s also pocketed a gold medal for its Blanco tequila.
- 90 percent of tequila distilleries are in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico
- The red volcanic soil in the region around Tequila is particularity suited to growing blue agave, and more than 300 million plants are harvested there each year.
- Tequila doesn't have to be distilled in the city Tequila, but like the Champagne region in France, this region is the most recognized. Mexican law states that tequila can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and limited to municipalities in the state of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas.
- Tequila is made from blue agave, a succulent plant found in Mexico.
- There are seven steps in making tequila including harvesting, cooking, fermentation, distillation, aging and bottling.
The brand has already rolled out in Delaware, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Las Vegas.
"He's not a business guy at all,” Timmerman said of his friend Thompson. “He's just a creative dude who has made this. It's really been a fun thing for him. Danny is the artist who created this infusion of pineapple, jalapeño and Blanco tequila."
Because of how U.S. liquor laws, getting a new brand on the shelves at a local liquor store or in your favorite bar is not easy. Timmerman explained there is a three-part system in the U.S. that separates the importer, the distributor and the retailer. Because of this, Dano’s has had to form many other partnerships in many states.
That, and the most recent government shutdown, slowed the rollout of Dano's Dangerous Tequila. The brand has been introduced in other parts of the country, but its debut in Colorado has just begun.
"In a couple of weeks we expect it to be in every bar and every liquor store in Steamboat," Timmerman said. "We just started rolling it out this weekend, and it made it on the truck for a few select locations."
He expected it to be available at Ski Haus Liquors, Steamboat Discount Liquor and Southside Liquors this weekend.
It's the latest venture for Timmerman who spent 10 years on Wall Street before coming to Steamboat Springs. He started the Creek Company, which deals in floats, boats and fly-fishing equipment. He is also an owner of Spiffy Dog, which makes dog collars.
"Spiffy Dog makes the world's best dog collars, Creek Company makes the world's best float tubes and boats, and now, Dano's Dangerous Tequila makes the world's best tequilas," Timmerman added.