SHERIDAN — An unlabeled door leads to a fairly empty, warehouse-like room at the end of the brick building once known to house Luminous Brewhouse before its move in 2016.
In the back of the room, a large, blackened cast iron pot hangs above a fan and next to a cooling rack meant for WYO Buckin’ Beans, a local coffee roasting company.
The owner — Angie Caster — is a born-and-raised Sheridanite and strives to keep as much of her product local whenever possible. When experimenting with ways to add some spice and kick to her product, Caster infused the beans with Fireball. The product couldn’t be kept on the shelves, though, as health inspectors and those approving labels through the Wyoming Department of Agriculture advised that Caster might need a liquor license to sell the product commercially.
Instead of pursuing the idea with Fireball, Caster opted to source the whiskey flavor for her coffee locally.
Across the tracks and less than half a mile away, the Koltiska Distillery creates its spiced whiskey.
“KO has that cinnamon-spice flavor to it, so why not reach out to them?” Caster said of her idea to make the original experiment more of a local partnership. “It doesn’t hurt to try; that’s pretty much how your whole business venture works.”
Caster starts out by roasting mild Guatemalan beans in a cast iron kettle to around 400 degrees. She then dumps the beans onto a cooling rack and sprays the KO 90 directly onto the hot beans, letting the alcohol sizzle out.
“It’s not such a strong whiskey flavor, it’s very smooth, but you get that smoky barrel flavor and soft hints of the smell and the aromas,” Caster said. “It’s not knock you on your butt when you drink it, but it makes (the flavor) so nice.”
General manager of the distillery Brandon Titus said the Koltiska family has been using the KO product in all types of drinks for many years.
“The cowboy coffee in the morning and putting KO in the coffee has been a tradition in their family for generations. This is just the next natural step — actually making a coffee with the KO flavor straight in it,” Titus said.
Caster anticipates completing the labeling process this week and rolling out the product next week or two, if all goes according to plan. The only difference with this label is including Koltiska’s official brand name and adding ingredients, whereas before coffee beans were the only ingredient, so they did not need a list of ingredients. Those approving labels said because the alcohol was cooked out during the process, a liquor license was not needed for the product.
Caster said the product itself does not have an alcohol content. During the process, the alcohol evaporates from the hot beans and, through boiling the beans to create a cup of coffee, all of the alcohol disappears.
“If you don’t want the kick in the morning, you can still get the flavor,” Titus said.
The flavor itself — sourced from Sheridan products — was crafted in the fairly empty, warehouse-like room, but Caster and Titus anticipate bringing a combined flavor fit to replace the original kick of a cowboy’s morning coffee.