Photos by Caitlin Abrams
Owner, Crooked Water Spirits
How she’s changing the game: While she works toward building a distillery of her own, Manley uses Yahara Bay whiskey distilled in Madison, Wisconsin, then finishes it in port casks from Portugal (Kings Point batch) or sherry casks from Spain (Lost Lake batch). Manley—who also runs a successful IT company—has started bottling Navy-strength Abyss gin and L’eau Grand vodka finished in French oak barrels. The latter can be found on Sun Country flights starting this month.
Critic’s pick: Try the woody, nutty oak-aged vodka in a beguiling version of an Old Fashioned.
What excites her about the local scene: “Opportunity. Minnesota has so many creative people passionate about driving innovation and pushing boundaries.” crookedwaterspirits.com
Nick Kosevich, Ira Koplowitz, and Marco Zappia
How they’re changing the game: Bittercube’s nationally recognized bitters brand—which can be found in both stores and bars—made them famous. But they also consult at watering holes around the country, and run Lawless Distilling’s cocktail room in Minneapolis. Also, check out their custom drinks menu at Restaurant Alma’s bar when it opens in December.
Critic’s pick: Try anything tiki from this gang, like the Green Isaac’s Special with gin in a gold spray-painted coconut at Lawless.
What excites them about the local scene: “I love [the] ‘North’ concept. Uniting as a powerhouse of talent will continue to sponsor originality.” —Marco Zappia
Co-founder, Oakhold Farmhouse Brewery
How he’s changing the game: Loesch, an engineer by training, and Caleb Levar, a microbiologist, helped launch the sour beer scene in town with their mixed-culture fermentation at Fair State Brewing. In 2017, they hope to launch Oakhold, one of the first farmhouse mixed-culture fermentation breweries in northern Minnesota, where the wild yeasts like to roam.
Critic’s pick: An elegantly floral and tart can of Roselle, or a complex and earthy pour of the award-winning Crommulence—both from Fair State—will give you an idea of why sour beers are probably the next big thing in brewing.
What excites him about the local scene: “I love to see that as the beer scene grows and matures, people are working harder to find their niche. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, you have folks focusing on one or a few specific styles and getting really good at it.”
Sommelier, Gyst Fermentation Bar
How she’s changing the game: Mott and partners Mel Guse, Ky Guse, and Jim Bovino have turned the modern wine bar on its ear. Instead of stuffy lists full of dusty bottles, wines at Gyst are innovative and thrilling. And the space, located just off Eat Street near MCAD, is Pinterest-pretty with a casual air. From the “Misfit Wines” category, try a Georgian rosé from the ancient soil where archeologists discovered the earliest evidence of wine production. The main list rotates by theme—this month it’s “Wines by the Vessel” they were stored in.
Critic’s pick: A wicked and funky sidra (cider) from Spain, poured with a flourish.
What excites her about the local scene: “Guest open-mindedness. It turns out being in their best interest in terms of discovering new favorites and rekindling newer versions of old favorites. Think great merlot from a new, intrinsic producer or something they never knew paired with everything: sherry!”
25 E. 26th St., Mpls., 612-758-0113, gystmpls.com