The first 100 cases of liquor produced by Wander North Distillery will be available for public consumption beginning this weekend, and soon the new Northeast distillery could open the city’s first cocktail room.
Wander North is only producing its Outpost vodka right now, but owner Brian Winter plans to begin producing bourbon this winter (which takes several years to age) and has discussed partnering with Sociable Cider Werks to create an applejack in time for the holiday season. Next spring look for Wander North gin too.
A small provision included in the 2014 Minnesota omnibus liquor bill legalized distillery cocktail rooms, similar to the state’s legalization of brewery tap rooms in 2011. On Aug. 19 Minneapolis is holding a hearing on Ward 1 City Council Member Kevin Reich’s proposal to begin licensing cocktail rooms, and if all goes smoothly Winter said he plans to open the city’s first cocktail room in October.
The Wander North cocktail room will offer a few staple drinks like a Moscow Mule or Salty Dog, along with a number of unique, small-batch creations offered on a rotating weekly basis.
“I’m thinking like a bacon-tini with bacon-infused vodka and a big stick of bacon plopped right in there,” said Winter.
Just like tap rooms, cocktail rooms will only be able to sell liquor produced onsite.
The future home of Wander North's cocktail room -- photo by Ben Johnson
Wander North is located in the Mid-City Industrial neighborhood, a few blocks off of Broadway Street at 771 Harding Ave. NE. A few doors down, Northgate Brewing is working on opening its new tap room, and the two businesses plan to partner to bring in food trucks on weekends.
Winter is a longtime member of the National Guard and has served two tours of duty in Iraq. He refined his distilling skills last summer by taking classes at the Siebel Institute in Chicago, where one of his professors was the former head distiller for Maker’s Mark bourbon.
In Northeast, Wander North vodka will be initially available at Stinson Wine and Spirits, Sentryz Market and Erte.