• Du Nord Craft Spirits Serves Up Distillery Tours

    FROM THE Summer 2015 ISSUE

Opening a microdistillery in Minnesota used to be a very spendy endeavor—that is, until a provision passed through legislature in 2011 that reduced the license fee from $30,000 to $1,100. Shanelle and Chris Montana took advantage of that provision, and began production in April 2014 and opened Du Nord Craft Spirits last January, the first cocktail room in the Twin Cities. “We had always been lovers of craft and of local products and really anything that ties the farm and the city together,” says Shanelle.

The base of Du Nord’s Fitzgerald Gin and L’etoile Vodka is made using locally grown corn that comes from Shanelle’s family farm in central Minnesota and sugar from sugar beets that are grown in the Red River Valley in northern Minnesota. “We do everything by hand,” says Shanelle, who says they source people from the neighborhood to help with bottling.

Du Nord offers daily distillery tours for groups over 10 and individual tours on Saturdays. Afterwards, groups of up to 90 can socialize in the Cocktail Room, which allows for food to be brought in or catered.

The CDC defines close contact as within six feet or less, for 15 minutes or more with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. At gatherings of many kinds, contact tracing is used to trace the people that someone has come into contact with, before they learn that they have tested positive. This allows the people that the sick person came into contact with to be aware of the situation, and to make health-informed choices. 


With restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including natureinspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help calm attendees.