Minnesotans interested in fine Scotch whisky have an unlikely, new bar to visit: a 30-foot viking longship in front of U.S. Bank Stadium.
Throughout the 2018–19 Vikings football season, Highland Park—which hails from an island at the intersection of the Atlantic and the North Sea—will be doling out samples of its single-malt Scotch whisky in U.S. Bank Stadium’s Viking Village.
Founded in 1798, Highland Park sits on the Orkney Islands, an archipelago north of Scotland that lies just below the Arctic Circle. The distillery’s whisky is largely defined by the unforgiving elements of the islands, which are completely treeless due to the constant gale-force winds coming off the seas. For 220 years, Highland Park has been smoking its barley over 4,000-year-old peat cut from Hobbister Moor, just seven miles from the distillery.
Though technically part of Scotland, the Orkney Islands possess a completely separate culture defined by their Viking identity. With one in three island residents able to trace bloodlines back to the Vikings (including the distillery’s founder, Magnus Eunson), the distillery prides itself on its “Viking soul,” rarely changing its techniques from the original methods of the 18th century. From its hand-turned malt to its “new” 100-year-old kiln, the distillery says, “We certainly don’t shun innovation, but we only introduce it when it’s of direct benefit to the quality and flavor of our whisky.”
“Our decision to align with and support the Minnesota Vikings was a natural choice, as the region not only boasts the highest population of Scandinavian Americans in the U.S., but is also known for its quality craftsmanship and warm and welcoming spirit,” says Jim Brennan, senior vice president of marketing at Edrington Americas, Highland’s parent company.
While the partnership is definitely a marketing ploy (Real Vikings meet the Minnesota Vikings!), who cares. There’s complimentary Scotch to be had.
Highland Park will be serving up whisky during the following Vikings home games (schedule subject to change):
September 23, 12pm: Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings
October 14, 12pm: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings
October 28, 7:20pm: New Orleans Saints at Minnesota Vikings
November 4, 12pm: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings
November 25, 7:20pm: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
December 16, 12pm: Miami Dolphins at Minnesota Vikings
December 30, 12pm: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
*All times are in Central Standard Time