Planners with an appreciation for craft spirits are in for a treat this spring with the opening of a new distillery in Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood. Royal Foundry Craft Spirits, a multi-faceted concept with a decidedly British twist, aims to create a welcoming space for expats and locals alike.
Andy and Nikki McLain, the local husband and wife team behind the distillery, set out to create craft spirits inspired by Andy’s British heritage in 2016 with the help of Kelly Everhart, Royal Foundry’s CEO. “He spent most his childhood growing up in pubs and hanging out by the River Thames, so the distillery was inspired by his background and love for spirits,” says Nikki, Royal Foundry’s chief marketing officer. “The design and the vision of Royal Foundry comes from him and his experiences and culture.”
Housed in a 15,000 square-foot former warehouse, RFCS will produce authentic British spirits like Royal Navy-style spiced rum and London-style gin. While the distillery will not provide its own food, the RFCS team does hope to partner with local food trucks already serving British fare like Potter’s Pasties & Pies and Anchor Fish & Chips.
Despite its contemporary, industrial setting, the RFCS team aims to create an authentic British pub atmosphere for the space. "We want people to feel comfortable the way they would in a pub. Pubs are very much a community space in Britain, even kids hang out in pubs. It’s a social scene. That’s the feeling we want to create,” says Nikki. Anglophiles will appreciate the distillery's Premier League soccer match screenings, the [removable] Skittles pub bowling lanes and the 70-meter cycle track that will host races opening later this summer (stay tuned for more details!).
Most importantly, meetings and events will be a high priority for Royal Foundry. “We are first and foremost a craft distillery, but when we saw the space a lightbulb went off for me and I thought, ‘Yes, I know how to do this. I know how events can fit into this business,’” says Nikki, who has a background in corporate meetings and events with over 15 years of industry experience. The Royal Foundry location was ultimately chosen with events in mind and will feature four distinct spaces including areas for private events, a tasting room and space for traditional English pub games. The Barrel Room, with 2,500 square feet, will be available for event rental and the Crown Room will host tours, tastings and private events for up to 50 guests.
Event spaces will feature a raw, neutral aesthetic to allow planners to easily customize based on event-type and client needs. “I knew I wanted to have a space that planners felt they could turn into almost anything. We want planners to be able to bring in floral, and décor, and balloons, and pipe and drape and not feel limited. This space is going to be uniquely different than anything else we have in town and we’re excited to see how planners use that,” says Nikki.
Better still, the Royal Foundry team will have the capacity to host events without the need for a full buyout. "Our facility will allow us to have guests enjoying drinks in the cocktail room, while we a have a cycle race outside, while we have a tasting in the tasting room and an event happening in the event space," says Nikki. "We want to create a welcoming space for everyone."
With an official opening date still to come, planners can join the Royal Foundry mailing list or follow the distillery on social media for the latest updates and exciting details to come.