Road Trip

A couple of weeks ago, we returned from the longest road trip either of us has ever been on. We drove 6,029 miles (who’s counting?) and visited 13 distilleries spread from here to the west coast.

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 20130811_141916hit 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.

I also made a quick trip up to Washington which has more distilleries than any other state. There too, distillers are allowed to sell their product to the public. 20130822_130101We learned a ton on this trip about

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.

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Updates & Events

  • Du Nord Brings Home the Gold
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 28, 2016 Du Nord Craft Spirits paraded home from the Denver International Spirits Competition with a Gold Medal for their Fitzgerald Gin and two silver medals, the highest awards given, for their Apple Du Nord and L’etoile Du Nord Vodka. The Denver International Spirits Competition (DISC) is the region’s largest double-blind professional spirits ...continue reading 
  • The Cocktail Club Returns!
    Du Nord Craft Spirits, Minneapolis’ first cocktail room, is offering a limited number of its popular cocktail club cards to help fund several new stills and other equipment. When we started the Du Nord Cocktail Club in December 2014, we had no idea what the cocktail room would do to Du Nord. We hoped a few ...continue reading 
  • Patio Party at Du Nord Oct. 3
                    Join us for drinks, good smoked BBQ, an open bar, and fun. We are taking over our parking lot and opening our bar for one last outdoor fling before winter. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Metropolis Rugby. The cocktail room will be open for ...continue reading 
  • Bottle Sales Begin at Du Nord!
    Minnesota Distilleries Coordinate Sale of First Bottles This Friday, June 26th, Wander North Distillery, Du Nord Craft Spirits, and Vikre Distillery will become the first distilleries since prohibition to sell craft spirits directly to Minnesota consumers.  The coordinated sale, scheduled for Friday, June 26th at exactly 4pm, comes on the heels of state legislative changes, ...continue reading 
  • Du Nord Craft Spirits Voted Best Distillery for 2015
    We are honored and humbled to be voted the “Best Distillery” according to the City Pages.  We couldn’t have done it without our wonderful customers, retailers, and of course, our amazing staff! We look forward to everything the rest of 2015 holds! See the  Best of Award – Distillery!  
  • Target Field Now Serves L’etoile Vodka and Fitzgerald Gin!
    Du Nord Craft Spirits is thrilled to announce that Target Field and Delaware North will be serving L’etoile Du Nord Vodka and Fitzgerald Gin at Target Field for the 2015 Twins season! Section 111 – in back of home plate – will be solely focused on local craft products.  Craft cocktails, including the Minneapolis Mule, ...continue reading 
  • Du Nord Opens Twin Cities’ First Cocktail Room January 9!
    Du Nord Craft Spirits, one of Minnesota’s first micro-distilleries, is now the first licensed cocktail room in the Twin Cities. The cocktail room, slated to open to the public on January 9, will serve craft cocktails made using Du Nord’s Fitzgerald Gin and L’etoile Du Nord Vodka. Du Nord’s cocktail room will feature craft cocktails ...continue reading 
  • Living Social Deal
    Did you buy a Living Social Deal? If so, you can sign up for your tour at this link. You’ll be able to redeem your Living Social tour starting January 1, 2015 when our cocktail room will open.
  • Cocktailian and MN Spirits Events – Tickets Now on Sale!
    Join Du Nord Craft Spirits and other Minnesota Distillers for two excellent nights of cocktails and food! First off is the City Pages First Annual Cocktailian! The event will feature a variety of libations from both local and national distilleries & wineries. From neat sips of micro-distilled spirits to tastes of craft cocktails, guests will have ...continue reading 
  • Du Nord on ESPN 1500: The Titos and Templeton Lawsuits: Repercussions to the Craft Community?
    Du Nord’s Head Distiller, Chris Montana, talks with Phil Bubb, alcohol attorney from Fredrikson and Byron, about the Tito’s Vodka and Templeton Rye lawsuits. Is it just good marketing? Deceptive advertising? Customer fraud? What will the repercussions be to MN’s craft community? Click Here To Listen.
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Press & Media

  • Mike’s Mix Visits Du Nord
    We had the honor of having WCCOs Mike Augustyniak visit Du Nord!  He has completing two segments for his weekly Saturday series Mike’s Mix.  Thank you Mike and WCCO for taking the time to learn about and help support Minneapolis craft spirits. It was quite a fun visit! See both segment’s below: Mike’s Mix – ...continue reading 
  • Du Nord on 1500 ESPN Sept 9, 2014
    Craft spirits? Small Batch? Grain to Glass? Hand Crafted? What does it all mean? Every Tuesday, Head Distiller, Chris Montana, talks with the hosts of 1500 ESPN’s Happy Hour: Wine and Spirits Show. This Tuesday, Sept 9, 2014, Montana invites fellow distiller, Mike Swanson of Far North Spirits to the show to decipher the industry ...continue reading 
  • Fitzgerald Gin Released
    Fitzgerald Gin on shelves August 22, first gin to incorporate community feedback Just in time for the dog days of summer, Fitzgerald Gin, Formula No. 1, will be on retail shelves August 22nd. Fitzgerald Gin, Formula No. 1, is a classic London dry style gin, leading with a strong juniper flavor backed by citrus, angelica ...continue reading 
  • Du Nord on 1500 ESPN
    LISTEN NOW! Distiller and co-owner Chris Montana talks about cream of wheat vodka, our love for Minnesota, Donny Dirk’s Zombie Den, and the craziness of starting a business on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities’s new spirits show! That’s right, Du Nord is on the radio.
  • For Immediate Release
    July 26, 2013 Building on the Twin Cities’ rich culture of local foods and beers, Minneapolis’ first micro-distillery has planted its roots. Founded by husband and wife team Chris and Shanelle Montana, Du Nord Craft Spirits will produce L’etoile Vodka, Fitzgerald Gin, Appleseed Apple Whiskey, and, in the coming years, Longfellow Bourbon. As a small ...continue reading 
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Build Out

  • Road Trip
    A couple of weeks ago, we returned from the longest road trip either of us has ever been on. We drove 6,029 miles (who’s counting?) and visited 13 distilleries spread from here to the west coast. The trip started with Dehner Distillery in Clive, Iowa. Joe Dehner was very helpful when it came to envisioning ...continue reading 
  • A Special Tank
    About nine years ago a country girl met a city boy, and we couldn’t be happier with the result. Perhaps that is why one of the goals of DNCS is to foster a connection between the country and the city. This past week we got an opportunity to do just that when we traveled to ...continue reading 
  • Under Construction
    CAUTION! MEN AND WOMEN AT WORK! Du Nord Craft Spirits is currently under construction.  Stills are being ordered, plumbing is being relocated, and the sample room is being filled with kitsch! Please check out our facebook page for the most recent construction developments.  
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