The trip started with Dehner Distillery in Clive, Iowa. Joe Dehner was very helpful when it came to envisioning a distillery in a small footprint. He has a stack of degrees, on top of distilling experience, on top of welding experience so…. Joe will be manufacturing most of our equipment from scratch right here in the USA. This stop alone made the trip worth it.
After watching Michael Cuddyer mash taters at Coors Field, I headed to a few of the many Denver area distilleries including Spring 44, Dancing Pines, and Spirit Hound. I highly recommend all of them, but Spirit Hound captured my attention with their homemade equipment and gin that was good straight off the still. On the way out of Colorado I hit up Peach Street Distillers where you can buy a pear gin that is amazing (I know it sounds weird but trust me, it is good). Colorado laws allow Distillers to sell their own products as bottles or as drinks. The result: several community based distilleries using local resources to provide an alternative to big corporate distilleries—not to mention the fact that people were having fun at these places. On-site sales allows these places to remain small and community centered without having to just churn out hooch to compete with the huge distilleries.
From Colorado, I took a meandering path to Oregon. After a brief stop at a good friend’s hop farm, it was on to Bendistillery in Bend Oregon (and a beer festival that was fortuitously happening that weekend…). Then it was on to Portland where Shanelle joined me and we visited Stone Barn Brandy Works, New Deal Distillery, Eastside Distilling, Vinn, and House Spirits Distillery. The state of Oregon, like Colorado, allows distillers to sell their own products to the public and the result is obvious: all of the Oregon distilleries we visited were small operations producing limited volume with an ear to what the community wanted. Perhaps more importantly, these small distilleries were thriving with more opening up every year.
different ways to run a distillery. Indeed, every distillery we visited was different than the last with one exception: every single one could sell what they made to the public. We are more excited than ever to start our stills, but we are also mindful that Minnesota lags far behind other states when it comes to allowing on-site sales. Without the ability to sell what we make to the public, we lose a great deal of contact with the community and it will be hard to keep the lights on.
Minnesota’s laws are designed for multi-million dollar operations producing massive amounts of product; we hope Minnesota will recognize that small-craft distillers have something special to offer but need the same abilities that our friends in Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, Florida, Washington, Oregon, South Carolina, Maine, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Hawaii, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, New Jersey, Louisiana, Arizona, and others enjoy.Tags: Distillery row, Minneapolis Distillery, Peach Street Distillers, Road Trip, Spirit Hound