Story: Dry Land Collection

As I write this come to realize just how much the restaurant that shall-not-be-named had on my art career. Now that I have beaten them in court, the ripple effects are dampening slowly. However such was not the case in winter of 2022/2023. 

It was January 2023. A rushed email from Amanda of Coy Ink lands in my inbox. The Longmont Creative District needed to find Black artists for their February Second Saturday showcase--and in a place like Longmont--that's not easy to find. She explained the concept in a series of emails. The idea behind the Second Saturday Creative Crawl is simple. A business along Downtown Longmont pairs up with an artist to do an event on the Second Saturday of a month. I jumped at the opportunity as I'm deep into the slow season and the money I won in court from the unnamable restaurant was drying up.

Amanda asked what places with which I wanted to partner. I give her a list of about six. The first couple couldn't do the event and Dry Land was next on the list.

About a week later I have drinks with the owner of Dry Land, Nels. By then a lot of people in the local restaurant industry had heard about my art. He and the rest of the staff were flattered that I choose them. He asked why I picked them of all the other places. I told him the truth. The first time I heard about them, it wasn't exactly positive.

You see behind closed doors, the leaders of the unnamed restaurant had a never ending list of people they hated with a passion. Everyone from fellow restaurants, freelance marketers, ex-staff, government workers, and artist institutions. Still, I struggle to find a place they despised more than Dry Land Distillers. I'm not a fan of the "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" mindset, but I do believe that when hearing about another's character, it's wise to "consider the source," especially when said source is constantly in legal trouble.

I told Nels a less abridged version of the above story, and he's not surprised to say the least. We sit down for drinks and I tried some of their current and experimental concoctions. After sampling Dry Land's cocktails, I saw why the unnamed restaurant hated them. Envy is a powerful emotion. Dry Land is in a many ways what the unnamed restaurant claimed to be. Dry Land has a hyper local focus, makes award-winning drinks, truly supports the artist community, and pays its staff what they agree to pay them without a martyrdom complex or court order.

Because of the awesome people at Longmont Creative District and Dry Land, I had one of my most successful events with that February. I did a second one in April resulting a total of 4 pieces: Dry Land Clover Club, Dry Land Hot Buttered Rum, Dry Land & Groove Street Margarita, and Dry Land Singapore Sling. For that I'm thankful that I decided to give this place a second shot.