We aren't a region known for our liquor forward ways. While many of us might nip a little of grandpa's old cough medicine to get through the long, cold, dark months, the law books still keep us in the old days of bible dictated drinking. Never on the Sabbath (unlike those heathens in Wisconsin) and only buy for major distilleries located in the magical far-far-away lands of Kentucky. While we will continue to have to trek outstate on Sundays to buy booze, the tide is slowly shifting on local brewing of spirits.
In the past year, thanks to slightly less stringent laws for area distilleries, we have gained access to new favorite spirits like Far North's Solveig gin and Alander rum, the entire line of gins from Vikre, Norseman vodka, Loonshine from Loon Liquors and more. Now, the next evolution is ready to launch as most local distillers are also beginning to age their spirits for more complex sippers, expand and open onsite spaces to sip these wares.
It would appear the first cocktail room to open will likely be from Du Nord Craft Spirits. Du Nord is the work of Christopher and Shanelle Montana. They are the makers of L'etoile Du Nord vodka and Fitzgerald gin. Their cocktail room inside the distillery in Minneapolis' Longfellow neighborhood is expected to open some time in January, reports Minnpost.
Eleven Wells distillery in the old Hamm's brewery in St. Paul is also working on a swank cocktail room, but they are still waiting on city approval. Eleven Wells is already selling a bourbon and a rye in addition to their white whiskey. They also have a rhum in the works that is expected to be released in February of 2015.
New distilleries continue to pop up as well. Lost Falls Distillery has been approved for production inside their space at City Foods, Inc. in South Minneapolis after a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Far North Spirits have been selling shares of bourbon barrels and are readying new, navy strength gin and a rye distilled vodka for February release.
Norseman has been on the move as well. The distillery has moved to larger digs at 451 Taft Street (still in Northeast).
2015 continues to shape up to be a very tasty year for those who prefer to drink locally.