The Great Debate: The Three-Tier System Is Fundamentally Broken

Illustration by Will Dinski After Prohibition ended in 1933, states were in need of a better system to regulate the manufacture and distribution of alcohol. They needed a way to discourage large breweries from monopolizing the industry, and to ensure that products were being made and transported safely. In Minnesota, like many others, the result … [ Read more]

The Old Fashioned Is The New Cosmopolitan

I’ll have a [drink],” says the bar guest confidently, and without a menu, like a reflex. “I saw it on [show] and I really like how [character] looked drinking out of its signature glass.” Maybe they don’t say the last part out loud, but it goes without saying. That drink used to be the Cosmopolitan. … [ Read more]

Change Agents: A series of fermentation projects at Colita is making old cocktails taste fresh and new

We squeeze past the crush of people in the entryway and snag two seats at the end of the bar at Colita. This is how we usually eat there—take a drive on Penn Avenue, slow down at 54th Street, assess the regular chaos (is that a new crowd or the six o’clock crowd finishing up?) … [ Read more]

Pink Drink Pandemonium: The rise of rose-colored gin, plus cocktail recipe

A pink wave is washing over the Western world and there’s no shortage of strong opinions on the matter. The European and Australian continents are currently glowing with the rosy hue of an explosive drinking trend which might soon light up the U.S.: pink gin.  The current definition of pink gin is a far cry from … [ Read more]

Congress passes bill averting end-of-year tax hikes for U.S. distillers, brewers, and winemakers

An end-of-year tax crisis for America’s brewers, distillers, and winemakers has been averted after Congress passed a bill on December 19 that included a one-year extension of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA). The bill, which is now on its way to the president’s desk and is expected to be signed on … [ Read more]

Loon Liquor’s Experimental Series puts Frankincense and Myrrh in the Christmas Spirit

Loon Liquor Co. of Northfield has spent considerable effort over the last few years perfecting a lineup of liqueurs. Their coffee liqueur is well known to The Growler staff as what re-endeared us to White Russians. Their blueberry liqueur has the purest, most clarion fruit flavor of any berry spirit we’ve tasted. And their elderflower liqueur … [ Read more]

2019 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Award Winners

Who better than the readers of The Growler to nominate and vote for the finest of the finest in Minnesota beer, spirits, food, arts, and culture? We had a tidal wave of votes to determine the winners of the 2019 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Awards, and we’re proud to share the results with you. These are … [ Read more]

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2019 Year in Review: Wine & Spirits

Ready, Set, Drink! Local distilleries mounted a full-scale invasion of the ready-to-drink (RTD) category in 2019. Canned and bottled cocktails are up 40% nationwide over 2018, riding the same wave as hard seltzers and canned wine in which drinkers are gravitating towards new flavors in convenient packaging. Vikre Distillery of Duluth launched Frenchie, a pink … [ Read more]

Time after Time: We drink The Lynhall’s new temporal cocktail menu

We didn’t know what to make of The Lynhall when it opened in 2017. At the time it seemed torn between minimalist coffee shop and shiplapped Insta-brunch hang (with a TV studio somehow in the mix?) The food was rote, but at least there was espresso and lots of room to spread out your laptop … [ Read more]

In the Land of Peat & Whiskey

Minnesota is rich in peat and distilleries. So when will a Minnesota peated whiskey become a reality? The ground beneath me gives way slightly as I place my full weight on my foot. I wholly expect to be staging a rescue mission of my shoe at any moment and wait for it to be swallowed by … [ Read more]

Drinking in the Suburbs: The Growler’s Guide to Drinking (Well!) in the Greater Metro

W hen it comes to assessing the drinks scene in Minnesota, Minneapolis and St. Paul often suck the oxygen out of the room. And not without good reason, considering the wealth of mixological talent and the seemingly limitless number of beer taps behind Twin Cities bars. But, like a magician’s sleight of hand, while we’re … [ Read more]

Variety is the Spice of Whiskey

Whiskey aficionados know which grains they like in their spirit. They can distinguish between the sweet softness of corn, the mellow creaminess of wheat, and the sharp grassiness of rye. But do they know which kind of corn or rye they like best? Probably not. But this might be the direction that craft whiskey is … [ Read more]

Minnesota’s Industry Icons: Badass bartenders leading innovation in the North

  The Minnesota cocktail landscape is seeing a shift change. This year, the local chapter of the U.S. Bartenders Guild appointed Kate Hoffman Mikkelson as their first female president. Christina Jenkins leads Hai Hai’s highly-awarded cocktail program. Family-run Dampfwerk Distillery Co. has put marketing powerhouse Bridgit Loeffelholz at the helm of their brand new cocktail … [ Read more]

Wine Time: Grapes of Cognac & Armagnac (Or, the virtues of neutrality)

Stay neutral.” Two words designated to Switzerland, minimalist millennials decorating their apartments, and grapes used for distillation—specifically for Cognac and Armagnac. When we think of beverages made from grapes, we immediately rush to wine (especially when reading a wine column.) But, let us take a moment to examine the grapes of the much-loved Cognacs and … [ Read more]

Opinion: Minnesota’s distilling laws are creating a high bar for spirit makers to clear

Shelly Dailey is busy. As one of the managing partners of the St. Paul small-batch whiskey maker, Studio Distilling, she’s planning for a new cocktail room, and keeping up with her new distributor, among her many daily tasks. It made it all the more frustrating when she had to spend several hours on the phone … [ Read more]