Wyoming Whiskey

Wyoming Whiskey has introduced the Wide-Open Spaces collection, which will be an annual small-batch production that supports parks around the country in partnership with the National Park Foundation. The first in the collection, By Air, was inspired the beauty of Wyoming and its parks.

Real estate market starts strong

Jackson Hole real estate sales continued to thrive during the first quarter in the face of pandemic and national economic worries.

Katie Brady of Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates, the local Christie’s affiliate, noted 48 sales in March as economic woes in other parts of the United States appear to have continued to drive the demand for property in Jackson Hole and nearby. Brady said that the number of deals was “more than double the number of sales last March” and that “total sales volume increased from $18 million to $156 million.”

The total was driven by an average sales price that topped $3 million for the third time in the past five months, Brady said.

Another member of the local Christie’s affiliate, David NeVille, said overall sales in the first quarter hit 214, up two-thirds as national economic woes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continued to drive a desire to buy northwest Wyoming real estate. NeVille also reported 108 pending sales. During the first quarter, he said, sales in the $2 million to $3 million range were the most numerous, accounting for 31% of all transactions; followed closely by the $1 million-to-$2 million segment, which accounted for 29% percent of sales.

Single-family house sales accounted for just more than half of all sales but 70% of dollar volume, with an average sales price of $4.29 million. Luxury sales had an average sales price of $6.4 million, according to Christie’s statistics.

Continued strong sales since the start of the pandemic have continued to drive the market and keep inventory low.

“Overall, in Teton County, active listings ... are down 76%, creating a dearth of inventory,” NeVille wrote to his clients and potential clients. “Pending listings are up 130%, confirming the intense demand. Days-on-market are down, and ... as new inventory hits multiple offers within hours are becoming the new norm.”

NeVille said the average sales price for a single-family house grew 10% to $4.3 million. He noted in a report to customers the $12.25 million sale of a house in 3 Creek Ranch, south of town.

Sotheby’s staff saw the same strong market. The Sotheby’s International Realty 2021 Luxury Report — which includes much of the local market based just on dollars — led the way. “Buyers are turning seasonal markets into year-round destinations, driving million dollar home sales in secondary and tertiary cities, and setting price records.

“Wealthy buyers are setting in for the long term in ski-resort towns and scenic retreats.”

— Mark Huffman

Ford joins Wyoming Whiskey

Wyoming Whiskey and Jackson Hole part-timer Harrison Ford have joined efforts to sell a special batch of whiskey in an endeavor to support the efforts of the National Park Foundation.

Proceeds from an auction came from special bottles of four Wyoming Whiskey products: a batch of bourbon named after Black Sand Basin in Yellowstone National Park; a batch of straight whiskey inspired by the park’s Hayden Valley; a barrel of rye inspired by Grand Teton park; and a batch of bourbon named after Yellowstone Lake.

The four whiskeys are called the “By Air Collection.”

Wyoming Whiskey is brewed in Kirby, over by Riverton, and was founded by Jacksonites Brad Mead and David DeFazio.

Actor Ford — famed for “Star Wars” and “Blade Runner” among other movies — is a long-time Jackson Hole part-time resident who is billed as “creative director for the collection.”

“For 35 years or so I’ve been lucky enough to have a home in Wyoming,” Ford said in a release. “I am proud to work in conjunction with Wyoming Whiskey, my neighbors and friends, in support of the National Park Foundation.”

Ford said he was “very proud of what Wyoming Whiskey is doing with this event, as it is important to protect and restore these national treasures and keep them safe for future generations.”

Participating in the special series were Wyoming photographer Tuck Fauntleroy and artist Jamison Sellers.

— Mark Huffman

Airport gets more stimulus funds

Jackson Hole Airport continues to capitalize on grant money that has opened up through the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A year ago, the airport was the recipient of a $16.5 million grant via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act. Now, the airport has received another $3.24 million through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airports Coronavirus Response Grant Program, which is part of a relief package that was adopted by Congress in December.

“Airports are key pieces of national infrastructure in the eyes of Congress,” Jackson Hole Airport Director Jim Elwood said, “and they included some additional funds for airports to cover coronavirus relief, operations and eligible debts.”

Elwood spoke to Teton County commissioners and Jackson town councilors, who jointly oversee the airport’s board of directors — a body that had already accepted the granted funds. The town and county boards also unanimously approved the stimulus grant.

The $3.2 million will be used both to support operations and to pay down debt, Elwood said.

The nearly $20 million in federal stimulus money Jackson Hole Airport received buoys an operation that has fared better than most commercial airports in the country. Teton County’s jet port experienced a 42% decrease in passenger numbers during 2020, which is pretty busy considering that national air traffic numbers were down 72%.

“I can tell you that both the CARES funds and the grant you just approved really did help set the airport’s stage and gave us the ability to really keep moving and be responsive to those passengers who came through the airport,” Elwood said.

— Mike Koshmrl

Mark Huffman edits copy and occasionally writes some, too. He's been a journalist since newspapers had typewriters and darkrooms.

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