Altar Spirits opened just before Christmas as a distillery and tasting room at the Railyard in the former Santa Fe Clay space between El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe and Violet Crown Cinema.

Husband-and-wife owners Jeff Gust and Caley Shoemaker moved from the Bay Area (and before that Denver) to produce their own branded Ritual Vodka and serve as a contract manufacturer for other distillers.

They will start with vodka here and plan to add gin later, Shoemaker said.

They have capacity for 35,000 cases of spirits a year in their 10,000-square-foot space. They are starting with 3,000 to 5,000 cases of their branded products, beginning with Ritual Vodka.

This is their first distillery, but Shoemaker was general manager at Hangar 1 Distillery in Alameda, Calif., from 2014-20 and before that held operations administrative roles at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey from 2008-14 in Denver, where she’s a fourth-generation native.

They decided on Santa Fe because there are five times the number of distilleries in Colorado compared with New Mexico. Plus, Shoemaker was a fine arts major in college.

“We enjoyed coming to Santa Fe when I was in school,” she said. “We started looking at places we wanted to live. Santa Fe is still close to Denver.”

The tasting room and cocktail lounge will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday, with extended hours on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“We pour anything made in New Mexico,” Shoemaker said.

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