Hi peeps, Check it out - our cart is mostly covered with tri-clamp fittings, not tools. What does this signify, you ask? It means we're up and running! We've been distilling every day for weeks, tuning up our equipment, and testing and tweaking recipes.
You may remember we're doing 3 different flavors of our Boreal Gin. "Juniper" is a relatively traditional gin - well balanced, floral, with a touch of citrus from rhubarb we grew in our garden this summer. We've done lots of testing, and that recipe is just awesome. We're very happy with it. "Spruce" is a little different - it has the spruce tips we picked this spring, and it's earthier - more like being in the forest. We're getting there on that one, but not quite happy with it yet. The last is "Cedar," which has burnt cedar wood, black currant and grapefruit peel in it. We'll be doing our first infusion of cedar this week - it's taken a little while to get it underway because there's some prep involved - including zesting grapefruits and cutting, toasting and charring red cedar wood.
We've also dialed in our aquavit recipe - and it's just f&*$@** excellent. My apologies for the vulgarity, but it's insanely delicious. I brought the most recent iteration over to our partner brewery Bent Paddle the other night after they got their new fermenters in, and we had them taste it to get their input - it's warm and tasty and delicious, and so smooth. If you've had any experience with aquavit, this is just a whole different ballgame.
Today we're redistilling all our test batches to recover the alcohol, which isn't quite as exciting as developing new flavors, but you can see Kevin's hanging in there.
The other night Emily and I were pouring out some old experimental liquid infusions we did with filtered store-bought vodka and botanicals as we began working on recipes over a year ago. It was a delicious moment, realizing we'd come so far from the dream of a distillery, to actually distilling, to producing spirits we're really excited about. It's a joy, and frankly an immense relief!
Now for a little good news/bad news routine. Bad news first - we've been waiting on the federal government to approve our gin labels and our aquavit formula, and they've been running an increasing delay. And we're still waiting. As soon as we get that approval, we'll get the bottles printed and filled and on the shelf, but we can't do any of that until they say go. In other bad news, it's -15 degrees fahrenheit here today, and we can't get our truck started to go pick up our next batch of distiller's beer from Bent Paddle. No biggie though, we're Duluthians.
Now the good news - even though the product won't be ready for christmas, if you're willing to go out an a little limb with us, you can buy it now! Our friends at Mt. Royal Bottle Shoppe in Duluth are selling gift certificates for the holidays, and you can buy one for any or all of the varieties you wish. They'll be redeemable the minute our product is ready, which should be (fingers crossed!) in late Janauary. They're around $30/bottle. Mt. Royal is located at 1602 Woodland Ave, Duluth, MN 55803. (218) 728-6168.
Anyway, those are the haps! Come on down and say hi if you want - anytime from 10-4 on weekdays is good. We're in the Paulucci building, right off lake ave, right before the lift bridge. Also - we're going to be open on Saturday for tours from 10-6 for the Canal Park open house thingy. We hope to see you soon!
That's all from 'round here. Stay warm!
Joel, Emily, Kevin, Squid, Espen, and Genevieve