Visit Award-Winning Minnesota Distilleries
Tattersall Distilling, J. Carver Distillery, and RockFilter Distillery are all worth the trip
Photo courtesy J. Carver Distillery
Earlier this month, three Minnesota distilleries—Tattersall Distilling, J. Carver Distillery, and RockFilter Distillery—were honored with medals at the 2018 American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) awards.
From the event, Tattersall Distilling walked away with a gold medal for their Bitter Orange Liqueur as well as three silver medals for their Fernet, Amaro, and Aquavit. J. Carver Distillery, on the other hand, received a silver for their Runestone Straight Rye and two bronzes for their Island View Brandy and Everlasting Absinthe Verte. And, last but not least, RockFilter Distillery received two bronze medals for their Giants of the Earth Bourbon Whiskey and Stone’s Throw Bourbon Whiskey.
To celebrate their awards, we thought we’d reach out to the distilleries and ask what spirits enthusiasts—new and old—should expect in the upcoming months. Read on for more information about tours, events, and new releases from Minnesota’s 2018 ACSA winners.
Tattersall in Northeast Minneapolis has been a Twin Cities favorite ever since it opened in July of 2015, and it still makes for a perfect Saturday or Sunday afternoon destination whether you’re a first time visitor or stopping by for a third (or fourth) time. Besides tastings (which Tattersall hosts quite frequently), Tattersall offers tours of their distillery every Saturday at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. For $10, guests can tour the space, taste spirits (make sure to taste Tattersall’s first ever straight rye whiskey), and receive a complimentary glass souvenir. Tattersall’s tours are run on a first come, first serve basis, so make sure you get there plenty early. On Wednesdays, join yoga instructor Annie Hayes at Tattersall for a 45 minute yoga class, followed by a cocktail.
For a special sip on March 22, attend Tattersall and Bauhaus Brew Labs’ release party for Tattersall’s Stargrazer whiskey at Moxy Minneapolis Uptown. Based off of Bauhaus’ Stargrazer beer, this is Tattersall’s first malted whiskey and it will only be available for a limited time. The event is completely free and open to the public, so bring your friends for music by Sarah White, food from Chef Shack and tastings of Bauhaus’ beers and Tattersall spirits.
J. Carver Distillery
Located in Waconia (and named after Jonathan Carver, the namesake of Carver County), J. Carver Distillery is committed to exploring the world of distilling—and partnering with local farmers and barrel coopers while they’re at it. With plenty of tour options every Friday and Saturday night, J. Carver always invites visitors to come and learn more about their distillery. “We’ve been seeing record crowds,” said Gina Holman, a founder of J. Carver Distillery.
Besides going on a tour and tasting award-winning spirits, join J. Carver Distillery for its Cocktails and Cuisine: Taste of Morocco event on April 5 (doors open at 6 p.m.) or its Cocktails and Cuisine: Paella Feast on May 15. This summer, come take a cocktail class from Holman, held in the distillery’s cocktail room (she posts “Martini Monday” cocktail tutorials on Facebook, too). While you’re there, taste the first all-Minnesota made whiskey (made with local rye and aged in Minnesota Oak), which will be released early this summer. J. Carver Distillery is also excited to announce that they will be open on Sundays beginning May 27 to make sure locals and visitors alike get a chance to visit on the weekend.
The only awarded Minnesota distillery that is not located around the Twin Cities, RockFilter Distillery in Spring Grove (pop. 1,296) is about 176 miles south of Minneapolis, a 2-and-a-half-hour drive for those residing the Twin Cities area. RockFilter Distillery has only been around for two and a half years but their relative newness isn’t stopping them. The distillery (which specializes in heirloom and organic grains) has released four whiskeys for competition since going public, and all four have won medals in competition.
Tim Blanski, the sales and business development point for the distillery, says that the one big surprise the distillery has had is how many people come to visit: “On any given Friday or Saturday, 60 to 70 percent of people have never been there before.” He adds that RockFilter organically plants, grows, grinds, and distills all the grain used for their products, which makes sense since RockFilter’s founder and head distiller, Christian Myrah, is a fourth generation farmer and a second generation certified organic farmer.
Take a special day trip to taste their award winning spirits in their cocktail room or, on March 30, attend Spring Grove’s Musikk Fest Pre-party which will feature blues band Avey/Grouws and barbeque ribs and brisket from Fat Pat’s Texas BBQ.
If you can’t choose which distillery to visit first, you can find all three along with many others at the Minnesota Spirits Festival on March 24 at the Russian Art Museum in Minneapolis. This is the first time all the members of the Minnesota Distillers Guild will come together for a tasting, and they are all excited to share their craft with you. You can purchase your tickets to the event here.