UPDATED JAN. 28: Owner of Full Throttle Saloon to open boutique distillery, restaurant in Estes Park
Michael Ballard says Full Throttle Distillery will sell everything from hats to hot sauce
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By Tim Mosier | TMosier85@Gmail.com | Estes Park Trail-Gazette
PUBLISHED: January 28, 2021 at 1:19 p.m. | UPDATED: January 28, 2021 at 1:55 p.m.
After many locals and visitors responded to the news of a Full Throttle Distillery coming to Estes Park, the owner of the Full Throttle Saloon and the man seen in the Facebook video shot last week in Estes Park, Michael Ballard, hopes to clear up any confusion as to what he and his team will actually attempt to bring to downtown Estes Park.
“The distillery and restaurant concept that we are developing will be unique to Estes Park. Bob and Tony’s Pizza has been a fantastic staple for the community, and while there will be changes, we’ll continue to serve their pizza and honor many of their traditions. We have four other boutique distilleries, including ones in Trimble, Tennessee and Deadwood, South Dakota. Our distilleries offer tours and tastings, and we’ll sell everything from hats to hot sauces to candles. Full Throttle owns several brands, and this distillery will be very different than our bar concept in Sturgis. We’re continuing to work through the logistics, but we’re excited to be joining the amazing community in Estes Park,” said Ballard.
According to a Facebook Live video broadcast from downtown Estes Park last week, the Full Throttle Saloon, which some may know from the reality TV series of the same name, will be opening a distillery on Elkhorn Avenue in the coming year.
The man seen in the video is Michael Ballard, the owner of the Full Throttle Saloon which he built on 30 acres of land in Sturgis, South Dakota in 1999. The Saloon is known as the largest biker bar in the world and is one of the main features of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally that takes place every August.
“Look at this … look at how beautiful this place is,” said Ballard, remarking on the lights and charm of downtown Estes Park. “I don’t know if you have ever been to Estes Park but it is beautiful.”
In the video, which currently has over 60,000 views, Ballard announces that he has purchased a property on Elkhorn Avenue in downtown Estes Park.
“I am in Estes Park, Colorado right now and we have been down here now for the past few days … I just bought this building here right behind me,” Ballard says while gesturing to Bob and Tony’s Pizzeria. “We’re going to be putting a Full Throttle Distillery in right here in downtown Estes Park.”
The purchase was confirmed by a post from the Bob and Tony’s Facebook page which read, “Just want to thank everyone that supported Bob and Tony’s Pizza and my family for the last 22 years! Happy to hand the baton to Michael Ballard of Full Throttle Saloon and his crew.”
At least one neighboring business owner saw the video and is excited to welcome the new owner.
“Welcome to Estes Park. I own Simply Christmas across the Street,” said Carissa McGill on Facebook. “I look forward to meeting you all.”
While making the announcement, Ballard continually mentions the beauty of Estes Park while encouraging any of his Facebook page’s 677,707 followers to apply to come work in the Rocky Mountains.
“There are shops up and down the street, it’s a beautiful place and there are about five million tourists a year that come here. I love it here,” Ballard said.
While the building will indeed be turned into a distillery, Ballard says he is not getting rid of the pizza entirely.
“We’re still going to be keeping some of the pizza that’s here, but we’re going to transform it and put another distillery in here,” Ballard said.
Many may be familiar with the name as ‘Full Throttle Saloon’ was a reality TV show that ran for five seasons on TruTV from 2009-2015.
The series chronicled the daily operations of the indoor/outdoor bar which included several large stages, a burn-out pit, a tattoo parlor, zip lines, a wrestling ring, restaurants, dozens of stores, hundreds of cabins for rent, and parking for thousands of motorcycles.
In September 2015, a large fire destroyed the original Saloon so, Ballard, his wife Angie and musician and TV personality Jesse James Dupree rebuilt the Saloon on 600 acres in Vale, SD.
On top of Bob and Tony’s Pizza, Ballard says he purchased another building outside of the downtown corridor, although it is still unclear exactly where that is.
“I also bought a second building here in Estes Park where we are going to have another distillery and maybe even a live venue area, outdoor patio, and some of the manufacturing,” Ballard said. “Colorado, here we come baby.”
See the entire video below.