While Broncos Flounder, Jake Plummer, and Karl Mecklenburg Blend Craft Bourbon to soften the bite

The Broncos may not be doing very well these days, but their bourbon holds up.

Named the official bourbon maker for the Denver Broncos, Breckenridge Distillery is in its second year of partnership with the franchise, and is working with alumni stars to craft two blends for the Broncos—one labeled Orange, one Blue—that are only available in Colorado. Players’ creations compete for Most People’s Choice votes in the distillery’s annual competition, and the winner returns to help make a new bourbon the following year.

Last season, former Broncos’ blue quarterback Jake Plummer’s mix was the official winner in the opening battle, when he faced former Broncos’ blue linebacker Reggie Rivers’ mix. This year, a new challenger has entered the game: former star linebacker Karl Mecklenburg. As champion, Plummer joined forces with Breck Distillery Hans Stafsholt to produce a new blue blend with flavors of orange blossom honey, oak and white pepper. Plummer and his team are up against Mecklenburg, who teamed up with the distillery’s founder Brian Nolte’s staff to craft an orange blend to replace the River product. Mecklenburg and Nolte’s iteration merges notes of burnt marmalade and raisins with brown sugar, vanilla, spice and smoke.

Breckenridge Distillery’s new blend of Broncos bourbon. Photo by Jesse Unruh, courtesy of the Breckenridge Distillery

Consumers can vote for their favorite concoctions online or via a QR code on bottles, which can be purchased at liquor stores throughout Colorado. Pours are also available at the Breck Distillery bar at Empower Field in Mile High, and the winner will be announced at the end of the season.

“It’s a real science, honestly,” says Mecklenburg, who was known as the “albino rhino” during his 12 years with the Broncos, during which he notched 79 sacks and reached six Pro Bowls and three Super Bowls (1987, 1988, and 1990). ). “I didn’t realize how much goes into making whiskey. Each bottle of base whiskey has a different taste and aroma – cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla. What the pros do is put complementary flavors together and come up with the best blend. [This year]I think we’re the winners.”

The former fullback’s confidence in his Bourbon side far outweighs his view of the men in orange’s winning potential this season. However, he believes the team has the talent to turn things around.

“Like all Broncos fans, I’m getting a little frustrated right now,” he says. “But unlike a lot of Broncos fans, I was expecting this. I played 12 years for the Broncos and had two coaches. We had two losing seasons in those years. I knew exactly what the guy next to me would do. When you have all the new systems, new coach, terms New players, new midfielders, new general managers, it’s hard to compete against things that aren’t new. When there’s a lot of changes, it’s hard to compete with teams that have been together for a long time. It takes time.”

Meanwhile, at least there’s bourbon.

“The good thing about bourbon is that you can drink it either to celebrate or to drown your sorrows,” Nolte says, adding that there is a connection between the success of a Bronco and the success of a bourbon—and it’s not always pretty.

“There are two demographics that buy Broncos Blends,” he says. “There are people who love Colorado, and they know there’s a lot of great things in Colorado. They think, ‘We’re going to buy this, get more people for the games, and show everybody how cool it is. We will buy them as gifts. For these guys, it doesn’t matter how the Broncos do. Then the other demographic is people who are on their way to football. We lose about 20 percent of the market [sales] When the Broncos aren’t doing so well.”

But regardless, you can expect good pours no matter the outcome from the award-winning Breckenridge Distillery, which has signed a five-year contract to be the official partner of the Broncos, beating out global brands like Jameson. And if fans want to experience this season’s star mash-up, they’d better act fast. The distillery produced 15,384 orange bottles and 20,580 blue bottles. So far in the People’s Choice competition, Orange has taken the lead with 1,309 votes, besting Blue by 1,195 votes.

Love people [the Broncos bourbon] And I’m really over it,” Nolte says. “You can only get it in Colorado. It was a great success. sell. What we have packaged is. When he’s gone, I’m gone.”

Fans (and commissioners) can get their hands on orange or blue bourbon at the Breckenridge Distillery bar at Empower Field or at local liquor stores for about $50 a bottle. Voting is open through the end of the NFL season online or via QR code on bottles.

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