A Guide to Minneapolis Craft Distilleries
Craft distilleries, with their on-site cocktail rooms, are a great way to drink in the local scene when visiting Minneapolis. When legislation introduced in 2014 reduced licensing costs in Minnesota, craft distilleries in the Twin Cities began to flourish. Now, with recent accolades like being named National Geographic's “America’s Coolest Drinking City” and “America’s Best Drinking City” by AFAR, our nascent local scene has received much deserved national attention.
A caveat of on-premises cocktail rooms is that they can only serve spirits and liqueurs made on-site. Since most distilleries in the Twin Cities source mostly local ingredients, this makes for a hyperlocal cocktail experience. From grain to glass, these are some of our favorite craft distilleries.
Photo by @xxri0
Now in its third year, the award-winning Tattersall Distilling is located in the historic Thorp building in Northeast Minneapolis. Tattersall currently distills rye whiskey, gin, vodka, apple brandy, blackstrap rum, aquavit, absinthe, and an assortment of liqueurs using grains that are always local and sustainably grown when possible. A seat at the bar will give you a glimpse into the handcrafted cocktail process and, if you can’t decide which drink to try, allows you to see what others are sipping. A different local food truck is available out front each day to provide a little food to go with your drink of choice. Weekly events include Wednesday night yoga in the bottling room, and distillery tours on Saturdays so you can sample spirits and explore behind the scenes.
Photo by @aj_eats_mn
Norseman Distillery was the first micro-distillery to open in Minneapolis since the Prohibition era. Their cocktail room debuted in the winter of 2016 on the south loading dock of the Strong Scott Building in Northeast Minneapolis. (The loading dock has been transformed into their patio.) Norseman currently distills vodka, rum, gin and aquavit and a selection of liqueurs. The menu changes seasonally, with drinks falling under the categories of “Citrus & Refreshing,” “Spiritual,” and “Curiosities.” Production tours of the distillery are available (and include a cocktail). If you’d like to learn more about what you’re drinking, you can sign up for a Cocktail Lab class led by one of Norseman’s bartenders. The class includes takeaway recipe cards so you can practice crafting your own cocktails at home.
Lawless Distilling Co.
Lawless Distilling Co., located southeast of downtown Minneapolis in the Seward neighborhood, opened in the summer of 2016. Tucked away in an area that is part residential and part industrial, Lawless’ windowless, dimly lit space is reminiscent of a modern-day speakeasy. The company currently distills vodka (distilled from locally grown red wheat and sugar beets), two flavors of gin, and a white rum. Their proximity to the Midtown Greenway trail makes it a great location to bike to — and bike parking is available. Lawless doesn’t have a full kitchen onsite, so guests are welcome to bring in outside food or have it delivered. Feeling inspired? Seasonal classes by Bittercube teach enthusiasts how to handcraft cocktails from Lawless Lounge at home.
Photo by @profnighthawk
Copperwing Distillery is St. Louis Park’s first micro-distillery and cocktail room. Located fifteen minutes from downtown Minneapolis, Copperwing was founded by three friends (from the fields of engineering, medicine and law), and their cocktail room opened in March 2017. The ingredients used are predominantly local, including the Minnesota white oak used for barrels. Copperwing currently distills whiskey, vodka, gin, and their signature “vodskey,” a clear bourbon mash-distilled like vodka (as opposed to being barrel aged). For those not interested in a cocktail, Copperwing serves non-alcoholic options made in-house and local cold-press coffee. There isn’t a kitchen onsite, so you can bring in food or have it delivered. (Ask your bartender for recommendations.) The cocktail room offers views into the inner workings of the distillery and tours include a spirit tasting. Sign up for a mixology class and you’ll be able to try your hand at handcrafting cocktails.
Du Nord Craft Spirits
Du Nord Craft Spirits opened the first distillery cocktail room in Minneapolis in 2015. Located in the Longfellow neighborhood in South Minneapolis, a 10-minute drive from downtown, Du Nord is currently distilling vodka, gin, Apple Du Nord (a spiced apple spirit made from Minnesota apples and corn), and a coffee liqueur. Their ingredients are sourced locally and Du Nord proudly states that each of their products is "made with alcohol that started as a seed in Minnesota soil". The inner workings of their distillery can be viewed from the cocktail room while you wait for your drink to be shaken or stirred. Distillery tours are available on Fridays and Saturdays and include a tasting of all of Du Nord's products. Du Nord offers a seasonal drink menu, though you can always order a gin and tonic made with their Fitzgerald Gin or a martini made with their L'Etoile Vodka. A number of area restaurants deliver, so you can pair local cuisine with your locally distilled drink.
The Twin Cities are home to many great distilleries, and a visit to Minneapolis wouldn't be complete without trying a locally distilled drink. If the dog days of summer have you craving a glass of something cool, or if visiting in winter has you seeking out a warm up, raise your glass at one of these distilleries and toast to the City of Lakes - which can now also be known as the City of Distilleries.
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