5 Legacy Makers of Minnesota

Plus up-and-coming legends in Minnesota’s dedicated scene of craftspeople
Clockwise from upper left: Abdallah Candies; Red Wing Shoes; August Schell Brewing Company; Nordic Ware
Clockwise from upper left: Abdallah Candies; Red Wing Shoes; August Schell Brewing Company; Nordic Ware


L’Etoile du Nord has a long tradition of craftsmanship spanning the legacies laid by immigrants and modern-day creative entrepreneurs. And while today’s emerging maker is tomorrow’s legacy brand, we highlight these established artisans to show how humble origins, good ideas, and hard work can pay off.

When we set out to tell the stories of some of Minnesota’s most famous, longest-lived makers, we looked at dedication to the craft, expertise in the field, and influence on the next generation. While the categories are many, we decided to focus on the realms of style, food, drink, craft, and home. And, of course, there may be other Minnesota brands in these categories known for their skills, history, and influence but we chose to highlight these makers mentioned most in the field. 

Today, Minnesota leads the country in a maker renaissance, where major brands stand beside startups and work in partnerships to make room for many at the table. That is about community over competition—or, simply put, being Minnesotan. –Jerrod Sumner, aesthetic editor

5 Legacy Makers of MN

Abdallah Candies: A young Lebanese immigrant, with his Swedish bride, opened the business in 1909, and it has relied on their sweet recipes ever since
August Schell Brewing Company: Founded in 1860, the multi-generation brewery’s early success was due in part to Minnesota’s natural resources
Leather Works Minnesota: It all started in a backyard shed near St. Paul in 1999
Nordic Ware: You know the Bundt pans, but do you know their history?
Red Wing Shoes: One of the last shoe manufacturers in the U.S. keeps forging ahead

Up-and-Coming Legacy Makers


Concrete Pig | furniture design | @concretepigconcretepig.com

Furniture by Degarmo | furniture and home goods | @tianna.degarmo | furniturebydegarmo.com

Custom Woven Interiors | weaver | @customwoveninteriorskellymarshall.com

Craftmade Aprons | apron maker | @craftmadeaprons | craftmadeaprons.com

Heart Berry Designs | fashion and home goods |  @heartberry.co  | heartberry.com


Ramadan Designs | fashion design | @ramadhan_designsramadhandesigns.com

Hybrid Nation | fashion | @hybridnationclothing.com | hybridnationclothing.com

Foat Design | sustainable fashion | @foatdesign | foatdesign.com

Makawa Studios | fashion and textiles | @makwa_studio | makwastudio.com

I Am Anishinaabe | fashion and accessories | @anishinaabekweniin | amanishinaabe.com


Serious Jam | jam maker | @seriousjamseriousjam.com

Humble Nut Butter | nut butter maker | @humblenutbutterhumblenutbutter.com

Hobby Farmer Canning | pickled goods and switchel makers | @hobbyfarmercanning_co   | hobbyfarmerfoods.com

Red Lake Nation Foods | wild rice and native foods | redlakenationfoods.com


Urban Growler Brewing Company | brewery | @urbangrowlerurbangrowler.com

Emiliani Coffee | coffee roaster | @emilianicoffeeemilanicoffee.com

Du Nord Social Spirits | distillery | @dunordspiritsdunordcraftspirits.com

Heritage Tea & Beverage | tea | | @heritageteahouse | heritageteabeverages.com


Pinezen Pottery | potter | @pinezenpottery | pinzenpottery.com

Addington Co | bag maker, accessories and home goods | @addington_company | addingtonco.com

North Star Forge | knife maker | @northstar_forgenorthstarforge.com

Lillie Nell | beadwork jewelry | @lillienellbeadworks | lillienell.com

Pat Kruse | birchbark, quillwork artist and culture teacher | @patkrusebirchbark | pat-kruse.com

Other notable brands that have left their own legacy on Minnesota:

Pearson’s Candy (1909)

Red Wing Stoneware & Pottery (1861 to 2020)

Faribault Woolen Mill Company (1892)

Duluth Pack (1882)

J.W. Hulme (1905)

Minnetonka (1946)

Summit Brewing Company (1986)

Jerrod Sumner is Minnesota Monthly’s aesthetic editor. His work covers all things local in the maker community. He is sought after for his understanding and promotion of the modern, American-made maker movement, and is a contributor on FOX 9 Good Day, sharing stories and goods. Follow him on Instagram @mrjerrodscott.