The 14 open and opening Minnesota micro-distilleries to look out for

Categories: Minnesota Made
Benjamin Carter Grimes for City Pages
The raw ingredients.
While microbreweries have boomed in Minnesota, entrepreneurs and drinkers state-wide have been slower to get into another craft craze: spirits. Now, thanks to a 2011 law change and a host of passionate micro-distillers, Minnesota is about to catch up.

Our cover story this week looks at what to expect from the upcoming crop of local spirits. Here's your roundup of where, and when, to find them.

See also:
COVER: Local Spirits: Meet the micro-distillers who are making craft liquor the Twin Cities' new industry

Open and producing
Benjamin Carter Grimes for City Pages
Scott Ervin of Norseman examines his wash -- the fermented liquid that goes into the still.
1. Norseman Distillery
Who: Scott Ervin

What: Norseman Vodka, and later, gin, whiskey, and rum.

Where: Based out of northeast Minneapolis, Norseman Vodka is in liquor stores around the Twin Cities, including Surdyk's, Lowry Hill Liquor, South Lyndale Liquors, Lake Wine and Cheese, France 44, North Loop Wine and Spirits, Zipp's Liquor, and Lunds and Byerly's locations.

When: Norseman Vodka is on shelves, if you can find it before the latest batch sells out. Norseman Gin is almost ready.

Why: As Ervin explains, "The stuff we shipped out last night is vodka that I started on Wednesday. It's the freshest stuff on the shelf."

2. Panther
Who: Adrian Panther and Brett Grinager

What: White Water Whiskey, Spiked Apple Spirits, and Bad Medicine Gin. Later, aged whiskey and bourbon.

Where: Based out of Osakis, Panther spirits are in bars and liquor stores around the state, including Twin Cities destinations like two Pizza Luces, the 331 Club, South Lyndale Liquors, and Zipp's Liquors.

When: While un-aged whiskey, apple-infused whiskey, and gin are already on shelves, look for aged whiskey, bourbon, and single barrel bourbon in spring 2014.

Why: Panther is the state's first legal micro-distillery, and all about the whiskey.

3. Far North Spirits
Who: Michael Swanson and Cheri Reese

What: Solveig Gin, and later, Alander Spiced Rum and Roknar Rye Whiskey.

Where: The northernmost distillery in the continental United States, Far North Spirits is based all the way up in Hallock. Find their gin at Twin Cities liquor stores Elevated, France 44, Lake Wine and Spirits, South Lyndale Liquors, North Loop Wine and Spirits, Zipp's, Solo Vino, and Thomas Liquors, and at restaurants like the Bachelor Farmer, Borough, Nightingale, and the Strip Club.

When: Gin is out. Look for spiced rum in March, and rye whiskey in December 2014.

Why: Swanson and Reese don't just source grains -- they farm them themselves, hand-selecting seed varieties and using only non-GMO grains.

4. Vikre Distillery
Who: Joel and Emily Vikre

What: Boreal Gin and Ovrevann Aquavit. Later, Gunflint Bourbon, Temperance River Rye, and Iron Range American Single Malt.

Where: Vikre is based out of downtown Duluth, in Canal Park.

When: Look for gin by February 1, and aquavit later that month.

5. Loon Liquors
Who: Simeon Rossi and Mark Schiller

What: Loonshine, a white whiskey, and later, MetropoliGin.

Where: Northfield.

When: Look for Loonshine within a month, and gin by spring.

Why: Loon Liquors is USDA certified organic.

Opening up in Minneapolis and St. Paul
Benjamin Carter Grimes for City Pages
Chris and Shanelle Montana of Du Nord Craft Spirits.
6. Du Nord Craft Spirits
Who: Shanelle and Chris Montana

What: L'etoile Vodka, Fitzgerald Gin, Appleseed Whiskey, Longfellow Bourbon.

Where: Du Nord is based out of an old motorcycle shop in south Minneapolis, about a block from Harriet Brewing.

When: Look for the vodka in March or April, and gin by late summer, early fall. Bourbon will be done aging in 2017.
Why: Du Nord's grain to glass approach is, Chris explains, "not the cheapest way to do it, and it's not the easiest way to do. It's actually in fact the hardest way to do it." So why do it? "You get the most control over your product," says Shanelle.

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