Co-Founder of Vikre Distillery
Emily Vikre is the co-founder and "arbiter of taste" at Vikre Distillery, a craft distillery in Duluth, MN right on the shores of Lake Superior. There, she and her husband Joel make handcrafted spirits with an emphasis on exploring the terroir of Northern Minnesota, both in its flavors and culture. Emily holds a Master's in Nutrition Communication and a PhD in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Her nutrition and food policy studies showed her that mostly she just really likes food and flavor, but she is also interested in different ways of connecting local farms with local people, and sees distilling as one potential way to support farmers in using sustainable farming practices and growing interesting, heritage grains. Emily also writes and photographs the blog Five and Spice
and the column "Breakfast of Champions" for Food52
Distiller and Owner of Far North Spirits
Michael Swanson is the distiller and owner of Far North Spirits, one of only 42 craft distilleries in the U.S. that also grows its own grains. He got an early start as a field-to-glass distiller (well, the field part anyway), growing up on his fourth generation family farm near the Canadian border. After more than 10 years in corporate R&D and marketing, the farm called him home. His love of the land and his dedication to making the farm sustainable for the next 100 years are matched only by his passion for gin and rye whiskey. For him, gin is a beautiful expression of place – the distiller using grain and botanicals to convey a region’s terroir. He received his MBA from University of St. Thomas, and his BA in Biology/Chemistry from Concordia College.
Owner and Master Distiller of Norseman Distillery
Scott Ervin is owner and Master Distiller of Minneapolis based Norseman Distillery. With a grain to glass philosophy driven by a hyperlocal focus towards quality over quantity. With a background in engineering and 10 years as an award winning Architect, specializing in prefabricated structures, he’s been featured in TIME, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many others. As a recipient of the 30 under 40 award for advancing innovative building technologies he’s part artist, engineer, and chef setting a new standard in the craft sprit industry. (Photo Credit: Caitlin Abrams)