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Under Construction Distillery Pivots to Cordial Delivery

Two of the industry’s top barmen are upgrading stay at home drinking

Jesse Held and Jeff Erkkila stand together, not smiling, in winter jackets on the site of their new distillery
Instead of opening a cocktail room and distillery, Earl Giles has found a new way to upgrade homemade cocktails in the Twin Cities
Photo courtesy of Earl Giles

The Earl Giles ginger beer had become a bit of local legend. Created by two leaders in the cocktail industry, Jesse Held of Parlour, Constantine, Mercado, and more, and Jeff Erkkila, also of Parlour, made a tart, gingery mixer that could barely keep pace with demand after its launch one year ago, in April of 2019.

The duo had led the industry in creating craft cocktails, but had slowly been branching out with a side project of syrups and cordials. The ginger beer was a runaway success. Eventually, the two realized that this side gig could be something more. In January they announced a new 12,000 square foot distillery that would be built on Quincy Street in Northeast Minneapolis. Fast forward a couple of months, add in one global pandemic, and now is not an ideal time to open a cocktail room.

In an effort to bolster the company while the distillery is still under construction, the duo are back to doing what catapulted Earl Giles into excited whispered around the hospitality industry: that ginger beer.

Two dark colored cans of Earl Giles with just a little cold condensation on the cans
Ready to be delivered
Earl Giles [Official]

Held said, “extraordinary times calls for unconventional methods.” Amidst the pandemic, Earl Giles is producing 4 packs of ginger beer along with an array of citrusy cordials and all are available for delivery within a 15 mile radius of downtown Minneapolis.

All the items are nonalcoholic by nature and just as easily mixed with club soda or gin or whiskey. Made with high quality ingredients the two would use behind the bar, the ginger beer is a mix of ginger, citrus, and cane sugar.

A limited amount of the items are also available at local liquor stores like France 44.