Spirits Close-Up: Aquavit

This month’s Craft Cocktail: Swedezerac at Fika uses anise-infused Skaalvenn Aquavit to complement to the fennel note that dominates the spirit, so for this month’s Spirits Close-Up we’re diving into locally-produced aquavits to learn more. Bourbon has Kentucky. Absinthe has New Orleans. But aquavit has no spiritual center in the United States. Minnesota could be on … [ Read more]

How to drink in the woods: Pro tips to elevate your beverage experience in the backcountry

We’re approaching that glorious time of year when we shed what’s left of our winter layers and head north in search of fresh air and open spaces. What’s an adventure trip without some delicious drinks to enjoy after those long, summer days? We talked to some Duluth-based experts who shared their recommendations on the best … [ Read more]

The Barrel Brokers

The Otises just wanted to age honey. Now they’re at the center of Minnesota’s barrel trade. Duluth Barrel Works owners Jon and Erin Otis never envisioned becoming “barrel brokers.” Yet today, they does just that for nearly every brewery in the Twin Ports area, including Bent Paddle and Thirsty Pagan, as well as Dangerous Man … [ Read more]

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Vikre releases Sugarbush Whiskey Lot 3

Whiskey aficionados can raise their glasses to a new release of a Minnesota-made whiskey. Duluth’s Vikre Distillery is releasing Lot 3 of their Sugarbush Whiskey today, Friday, September 9. This is the third time the distillery has released Sugarbush; the first lot was released November 2015, while the second was made available in April 2016. And even though each version … [ Read more]

Vikre Distillery releasing second batch of Sugarbush Whiskey

Vikre Distillery is set to release their second batch of Sugarbush Whiskey. The spirit, predominantly corn-based, and aged in port casks and bourbon barrels that once held maple syrup, had its first batch released last November. On Friday, April 1st, Vikre will open at 2pm, and bottles will be sold until 10pm that evening, with … [ Read more]

The State of Minnesota Whiskey

The Minnesota craft-distilling scene is looking to find its place in the geography of whiskey. With a handful of distilleries now past that two-year mark, it’s nearing the time for many to make the jump from barrel to bottle and start bringing aged spirits to market. Adrian Panther of Panther Distillery in Osakis believes Minnesota’s … [ Read more]

Vikre Distillery to Release First Whiskey November 20

Vikre Distillery has announced that their Sugarbush Whiskey will debut on November 20 in select liquor stores as well as their Canal Park headquarters. Sugarbush is Vikre’s first whiskey, made from 60% flaked corn, 25% barley and 15% rye. Those ingredients suggest a bourbon, but a maple-inflected aging process makes it wholly unique: “It’s shorter aged … [ Read more]

The Creepiest Cocktail of them All

Emily Vikre knows a thing or two about cocktails. She is, after all, one half of Vikre Distillery, in Duluth. She’s also a contributor to Food52, and recently came up with a cocktail perfect for Halloween. Witch’s Brew combines gooey boba tea tapioca pearls, mint, chartreuse, and gin—as well as a few other ghoulish-looking ingredients—for … [ Read more]

Craft Distillery Bottle Sales Start Friday in Minnesota

The rise of craft breweries and cideries in Minnesota has coincided with a renaissance of craft distilleries throughout the state. There are 14 microdistilleries currently in operation (or soon to be). But unlike taprooms, which can sell their beer directly to customers in growlers, distilleries were unable to sell bottles of their liquor on site. Until … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Emily Vikre’s Norsk 17

Emily and Joel Vikre started their Duluth, Minnesota, distillery after Emily had an epiphany New Year’s Eve 2012. She and Joel were at the Kitchi Gammi Club with her parents, and the conversation turned to the history of Swedish whiskey. At one point, Emily’s mom said the Swedes were sick of hearing the Scottish distillers … [ Read more]

Omnibus 2014: Distillers React

By John Garland So the Sunday growler sales provision died a sudden, Teamster-related death, but Governor Dayton signed the rest of the bill back on Tuesday the 13th. And while the Sunday sales (sorry, #sundaysales) fight will continue into the next session, S.F. 2336 will affect other local beverage operations, most notably ushering in a nice step … [ Read more]