State of Spirits: What’s new at Minnesota’s distilleries and spirit companies

Loon Liquors-11

Northfield’s Loon Liquors // Photo by Aaron Davidson

We checked in with all of Minnesota’s distilleries and spirit companies to see what they accomplished in 2016 and what they have in store for the year to come.

New in 2016

Beet Spirits, Inc

2016: New this year was a launching of BĒT Vodka, a spirit made from Minnesota sugar beets. The vodka is contract-distilled with 45th Parallel Distillery in New Richmond, Wisconsin.

Twin Spirits Distillery

2016: Twin Spirits launched its first spirit, M Vodka, this July. Since then, distillery owner Michelle Winchester has been slowly working toward releasing her second spirit, an Old Tom–style gin, as well as an unaged white rum, both of which will be available this November. Winchester will also be releasing the first bottles of her mead-based moonshine, which she plans to distill once a month on the full moon.

2017: A small cocktail room will be open to the public and in full swing by 2017. Exclusive varieties of vodkas, infused with anything from mushrooms to jalapeno, will be on sale in 375-milliliter bottles.


11 Wells Spirits


11 Wells’ Minnesota 13 Whiskey // Photo via 11 Wells’ Facebook page

2016: This year, the company heightened their productivity and is filling 15- and 30-gallon barrels. 11 Wells also put away more whiskey for longer periods of time—from six months to 12–16 months. As of August, the distillery transitioned to 750-milliliter bottles of whiskey.

2017: The distillery is looking to distribute their product in New England. They’re tentative to put a date on it, but there’s a good chance that their cocktail room in the old Hamm’s brewery on St. Paul’s East Side will be ready in 2017 as well.

Bent Brewstillery

2016: Bent Brewstillery added seven spirits medals to their trophy case this year, including a double-gold award at the Seattle International Spirit Awards for Bent Anchor, their Irish-style poitín, and a gold medal at the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition for Gunner Ghost, their navy strength gin.

2017: Bent will be releasing multiple new spirits, including a spiced rum and grappa. A brandy and/or single malt whiskey may be ready as well.

Crooked Water Spirits

2016: The biggest accomplishment for Crooked Water was signing an agreement with Sun Country Airlines to carry their products—Abyss Gin and L’eau Grand Vodka at first, and Kings Point Bourbon starting in January.

2017: The company is excited to continue to grow and expand the brand both locally and nationally for the new year.

Du Nord Craft Spirits


The still at Du Nord Craft Spirits // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

2016: Chris and Shanelle Montana have been running their stills seven days a week to keep up with demand in 2016. This October, Du Nord added a coffee liqueur called Café Frieda, made with Peace Coffee and roasted chicory, to its current offerings of L’Etoile Du Nord Vodka, Fitzgerald Gin, and Apple Du Nord.

2017: The Montanas will spend time in 2017 searching for a new location that will allow the distillery to expand its operation.

Far North Spirits

2016: Far North Spirits expanded distribution to California, Connecticut, the Chicago Metro Area, and Wisconsin. The distillery released four batches of its Roknar Minnesota Rye Whiskey, and will release Roknar Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey and Roknar 100% Rye Whiskey on November 12. Far North is intently focused on making their name in rye whiskey and has about 4,000 gallons of rye aging in barrels. This year they harvested five different varieties of rye as a part of their three-year rye crop research study, and will soon be distilling them to assess the differences in flavor. You can also expect a limoncello liqueur before Christmas.

2017: Far North will expand their seasonal line of liqueurs in early 2017. All liqueurs will be sold primarily in the tasting room in 375-milliliters, with a limited amount available through retail and on premise.

Next page: J. Carver, Tattersall, and more

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