Are craft spirits the next big thing in the Twin Cities?

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Craft local-made whiskey may soon be coming to your cup
It seems like every other city block boasts a new craft beer brewer. Could the next craft trend be micro distilleries?

There are several hopefuls moving forward around the metro area, now that lawmakers have lowered the fee for distilling permits from over $30,000 to the more manageable neighborhood of $1,000. Many are also crossing their fingers that Minnesota laws will soon change to allow them to sell their spirits onsite (much like the Surly bill opened the door for the taproom boom). Here are just a few that will be opening soon in the metro area.

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11 Wells Distillery, Facebook
704 E. Minnehaha Ave., St. Paul

The 11 Wells line is brewed inside the old Hamm's Brewery in St. Paul by Lee Egbert and Bob McManus. Egbert was already using the site to craft his Dashfire Bitters line, and McManus had already been planning a distillery, when the two met and realized they should join forces.

The name comes from the 11 wells beneath their location that fed the brewery. They'll be making whiskey, gin, and rum, and hope to be brewing early in the new year.



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Du Nord Distillery, Facebook
2610 E. 32nd St., Minneapolis

Located in Longfellow in south Minneapolis, this distillery is run by husband-and-wife team Chris and Shanelle Montana. They describe themselves as a "grain to glass" distillery. The entire process will happen onsite -- from mill to mash to distilling. Their grains will be grown on Shanelle's family farm in Cold Spring, Minnesota.

They'll be brewing Fitzgerald gin, L'etoile vodka, Appleseed whiskey, and eventually a Longfellow bourbon. The couple has traveled the country, visiting other distilleries and studying the craft. 

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3722 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis

Housed inside City Foods Studio, this distillery is run by Nils C. Collins and Brian Nackerud. They plan to brew spirits that celebrate our unique region, such as the slivovitz (schnapps) of the Iron Range and dark cherry rum of the Minnesota pioneers. They've taken to Kickstarter to raise some of the funds needed to make their booze-brewing dreams a reality. One of the rewards includes a super fancy cribbage board -- proof they understand their audience.

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1101 Stinson Blvd. NE, Minneapolis

Run by Scott Ervin, this Northeast distillery is declaring itself the first. They've already received permitting to allow them to begin the brew process and should soon be delivering bottles to liquor store shelves. Norseman will be creating high quality moonshine, gin, vodka, whiskey, and rum. 

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24 comments
Blamey VanDamme-pen
Blamey VanDamme-pen

Seriously! My wife is always musing that we are trying to be a late version of Portland!

Blamey VanDamme-pen
Blamey VanDamme-pen

Yeah...anytime we want to stop making beers that taste like cheap perfume...that would be great!

Alethea Wiberg
Alethea Wiberg

NEVER! I'll take the craft spirits as well, of course.

Kent Erickson
Kent Erickson

This is great for hard alcohol drinkers. I am not one myself, but never a bad thing to have more small businesses selling high quality locally made products, whatever they may be. Drink local be it beer or hard alcohol. No need to move on from craft beer, people can enjoy both.

Kelly McNutt
Kelly McNutt

MN is still recovering from the idea that alcohol ≠ end of the world.

Kelly McNutt
Kelly McNutt

It should be 'another' big thing. There can be both!

Ran Dazzle
Ran Dazzle

lets hope so..this beer bust is a bore

Carrie Graf
Carrie Graf

Why would we have to move on from one thing in order to embrace another? And actually are these really two different things?

Jamie Voss
Jamie Voss

And then the next logical progression would be craft AA. An AA so unique and local (and therefore expensive) there will be lines out the door to get in.

Fredlock Dobbs
Fredlock Dobbs

Next thing Minneapolis does that Portland does the year before: artisan antacids or handcrafted breathe right strips

Fredlock Dobbs
Fredlock Dobbs

That's what's going on in Portland, so apparently

Jay Boller
Jay Boller

In this economy? Bring on the hard stuff!

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