Photography by Terry Brennan
Cocktail from Tattersall
Imagine what life would be like around here if local boy Andrew Volstead hadn’t mucked things up with his teetotaling ways. The Minnesota congressman penned the infamous Volstead Act, enabling the enforcement of Prohibition in 1920. Think of what our drinking landscape would be like if the hometown breweries and farm cideries of yore hadn’t been shut down. In the wake of Prohibition, we lost a lot of artful traditions in the alcoholic beverage world, where, for a long time, tight regulations meant that only a few large companies could afford to be successful.
Well, thank Bacchus that the California wineries of the ’70s cracked open the door again to reclaim what it meant to enjoy a good local drink. It took a while, but today that door is wide open. We now find ourselves at the dawn of a new era in libations that respects the art of the past while shaping it with innovative techniques of the present. Twin Cities beverage makers, for their part, are fearless and full of Northern pluck. They’re interested in craft as well as fighting antiquated laws such as the now-defunct rule that prevented brewers from selling their own beer on site (if we’re lucky, the ban on Sunday sales will eventually end as well).
Thanks to deregulation, the idea of Minnesota bourbon is suddenly possible. Far North Spirits, located on a farm in Hallock, grows the grain that ends up in your lowball. Orchards like Deer Lake, which once just sold apples and mini donuts, are now pressing and fermenting hard ciders. Long, drunken story short: Our mixers and makers are doing their damnedest to carve out an identity for beer, wine, and spirits in Minnesota—and that’s a movement worth raising a glass to.
New taprooms. Booze slingers to watch. Crazy cocktails you've never heard of. Behold, our carefully vetted guide to sipping your way through the Cities.
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Four beer, wine, and spirits pros pushing the scene forward in brave, new ways.