Abbott Smith, owner of Telluride Distilling Co., dies in motorcycle accident

The co-founder of Telluride’s namesake distillery died over the weekend after being involved in a motorcycle accident, Mountain Village Police announced Sunday.

According to a statement issued by police, Steven Abbott Smith, a Mountain Village resident and co-owner of Telluride Distilling Co., was on his way home Saturday around 6:30 p.m. when his motorcycle left the road on Double Eagle Drive. No other vehicles were involved in the crash, which is still under investigation by the Mountain Village Police Department, Colorado State Patrol and San Miguel County Coroner, a news release stated.

Smith, who was 37, opened the distillery in 2015 with his wife, Joanna Smith. In 2019, the business expanded to include a taproom in Mountain Village that sells cocktails and bottled spirits, including its house vodka, gin, whiskey and Chairlift Warmer, a local take on peppermint schnapps.

Dustin Clements, the distillery’s head of production, told The Denver Post the distillery and taproom will remain open.

“Abbott has built up this successful company and we’ve been running it successfully for a few years now,” he said, “so we’re going to continue to focus on growing and building the business like we have been.”

While customers likely won’t notice any changes in the distillery’s operations, the Telluride community is feeling the impact, said Ray Cody, founder of the Telluride Autumn Classic car festival. During the early days of the pandemic, Telluride Distilling Co. pivoted to making hand sanitizer, which Cody fondly recalled smelling like its gin.

“When COVID hit, (Smith) switched his company from alcohol to hand sanitizer and donated it to our community members. That’s who he was,” Cody said. “He was involved in all the festivals and he was everybody’s friend. We’re really at a loss.”

In addition to being a local business owner, Smith was a new father. His daughter, Raegan (Rae), was born earlier this year, the news release stated. Additionally, he was an active part of several community associations, such as the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association Board and the Mountain Village Promotional Association.

He is survived by his wife and daughter, his mother, Stephanie, father, James, and brothers Jimmy and Jon. Clements said the Smith family will host a celebration of life event, but the details have yet to be decided.

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