2018 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Award Winners


Photo by Aaron Davidson

Photo by Aaron Davidson

Whiskey List at a Bar or Restaurant – Butcher & the Boar

From quick shots of Old Grandad on the way to a Twins game, to a sip of Michter’s 10-year after polishing off a smoked beef rib, Butcher & the Boar is your favorite place to get down with the brown.

Silver: Dalton & Wade

Bronze: The St. Paul Grill


Photo by Kevin Kramer

Wine List at a Bar or Restaurant – Spoon and Stable

Helmed for most of this year by guru Nicolas Giraud, the wine program features everything from storied Burgundy and Barolo verticals, to orange wines and obscure varieties—all fine accompaniments to Gavin Kaysen’s award-winning fare. 

Silver: The Bachelor Farmer

Bronze: Domacin Wine Bar


Photo via Tattersall Distilling Facebook

Photo via Tattersall Distilling Facebook

Bartender – Bennett Johnson, Tattersall

When you’re craving a last word, Manhattan, or umeboshi sour, you’re flagging down the man with the moustache in Northeast—Bennett Johnson is once again Kind-of-a-Big-Deal as your favorite bartender in town. 

Silver: Cory Yrjanson, Dalton & Wade

Bronze: Ian Lowther, Red Cow


Photo via Red Cow Website

Photo via Red Cow Website

Cocktail – Moscow Mule, Red Cow

It’s a simple formula—vodka, lime, ginger beer, copper mug optional. But the spirits experts at Red Cow have kicked it up a notch, making the ginger beer in-house and steeping the vodka with pink peppercorns. The result is an instant classic and, once again, your choice for best cocktail in town.

Silver: Contemporary Daisy, Esker Grove

Bronze: The Cedar, Italian Eatery


Photo via Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop Facebook

Liquor Store (Mpls & St. Paul) – Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop

Whenever you’re in search of an obscure liqueur, a new release, or an old favorite, you’ll find a top-notch selection of spirits at Surdyk’s.

Silver: France 44 Cheese Chop

Bronze: Elevated Beer Wine and Spirits, Minneapolis



Liquor Store (Metro Area) – Total Wine, Roseville

When you want to know what all of your options are (but really, all: 8,000+ wines from every wine-producing region in the world, 2,500+ beers spanning the gamut from macros to hard-to-find microbrews, and 3,000+ spirits), Growler readers look to Total Wine. 

Silver: Blue Max Liquors, Burnsville

Bronze: Elevated Beer Wine and Spirits, White Bear Lake


Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Photo by Brian Kaufenberg

Liquor Store (Greater MN) – Historic Casanova Liquor, Hudson

Sunday liquor sales in Minnesota hasn’t stopped your weekly migrations to Hudson, because the Nova still has one of the finest bottle selections of any store on either side of the river. 

Silver: Mount Royal Bottle Shoppe, Duluth

Bronze: Liquor Hutch, Hutchinson


Photo by Kevin Kramer

Photo by Kevin Kramer

Wine Shop – Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop

Their heart-healthy wine sales are legendary and their selection is incredible. One could kill a full afternoon browsing the aisles at Surdyk’s and always come away with something new and exciting.

Silver: Haskell’s, White Bear Lake

Bronze: Total Wine, Bloomington


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Photo via Tattersall Distilling Facebook

Local Rum – Tattersall Blackstrap Rum

Distilled from molasses, this rum is designed to be the perfect mixer. It’ll provide a solid base for daiquiris and mai tais and make you want to ditch Bacardi for good. 

Silver: Norseman Whiskey Barrel Aged Rum

Bronze: Far North Ålander Spiced Rum



Photo via Tattersall Distilling Facebook

Photo via Tattersall Distilling Facebook

Local Vodka – Tattersall Vodka

Made from Minnesota-grown corn, Tattersall’s vodka is light on its feet and makes every bloody mary and martini something special. 

Silver: Vikre Lake Superior Vodka

Bronze: Far North Syvä



A Growler Magazine photo

A Growler Magazine photo

Local Gin – Vikre Boreal Cedar Gin

A gin that smells like The North. Toasty cedar lends a homey and soothing feeling to your next Negroni, and is the perfect spirit to add a little extra something to your warm apple cider this winter.

Silver: Tattersall Gin

Bronze: J. Carver Barrel Gin


Photo via Tattersall Facebook

Photo via Tattersall Facebook

Local Whiskey – Tattersall Straight Rye

A powerful, uncompromising whiskey. This Monongahela-style rye (85% rye, 15% malted rye) is two-years-aged and bottled at 100 proof. It’s still young and feisty, but it’s your choice for packing a punch in your next old fashioned.

Silver: Vikre Sugarbush

Bronze: Brother Justus Silver Whiskey


Photo via Tattersall Facebook

Photo via Tattersall Facebook

Local Specialty Spirit – Tattersall Aquavit

The North has a flair for this caraway spirit, and no one nails it quite like Tattersall. Theirs has a full botanical array behind the caraway, blending with ease into your favorite mixers.

Silver: Vikre Ovrevann Aquavit

Bronze: Loon Liquor Lac Coeur Coffee Liqueur


Photo by Aaron Davidson

Photo by Aaron Davidson

Craft Cocktail Bar – Tattersall Distilling

It’s a cold Collins full of aquavit, mixed up by some of the Cities’ finest bartenders, and sinking into an oversized armchair surrounded by the shiny steel and glass of a bustling distillery. The vibe is cozy and the drinks are stellar—no wonder it’s grown into a must-visit cocktail destination.
Silver: Marvel Bar

Bronze: Norseman Distillery


Photo by Aaron Davidson

Photo by Aaron Davidson

Craft Distillery – Tattersall Distilling

Their spirits showcase exciting and exacting flavors, they release books full of recipes, their presence in our market grows by the day: Tattersall is truly Kind-of-a-Big Distillery. 

Silver: Vikre Distillery

Bronze: Norseman Distillery


Photo via Cannon River Winery Website

Photo via Cannon River Winery Website

Winery – Cannon River Winery

Their charming tasting room in Cannon Falls is a must-stop in the summer for a glass of Gunflint Gris. You can also taste their Mancini’s West 7th White at the classic St. Paul steakhouse—it’s perfect with a plate of herring and crackers.

Silver: Crow River Winery & Vineyard

Bronze: Schram Vineyards Winery & Brewery


Photo by Aaron Davidson

Photo by Aaron Davidson

Cidery – Sociable Cider Werks

They host lively concerts and block parties, they’ve started a chef incubator program to bring more delicious food to Northeast, and they make some of the most popular apple beverages in the upper Midwest. When it’s time for a cider (or a graf), Growler Nation gets Sociable. 

Silver: Milk & Honey Ciders

Bronze: Sweetland Orchard


Photo via Loon Juice Website

Photo via Loon Juice Website

Local Cider or Graf – Loon Juice Honeycrisp

This cider is made just south of Rochester entirely from Honeycrisp apples, fermented light and clean. It’s perfect for a summer picnic or warmed up in the winter with some baking spices, and it’s your choice as Minnesota’s finest.

Silver: Sociable Freewheeler Dry Apple

Bronze: Milk & Honey Heirloom


More 2018 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Winners:

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