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.