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WANDER NORTH IS TRULY GRAIN TO GLASS.
In 2011, Brian wanted to “Make Something.” His experience as a homebrewer led him to spirits. But he found that a distillery license was $30k/year. After corresponding with the state legislature, he was excited to learn the following year, that the price had dropped to $1,000. When he saw this, the local Minneapolis Nordeaster decided to quit his job and start distilling.
He studied at Chicago’s Siebel Institute where he honed his skills and learned the art of craft distilling. The focus is on taking locally grown grains, and doing everything in house – milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, and bottling on premise.
US Veteran Brian Winter is committed to his craft, his country, and his community. A percentage of all profits are donated to local charities to help veterans.
A Small, Dedicated Team
Essentially, Wander North is a 1-man operation all led by Owner, Distiller, Manager, and Floor-Mopper Brian Winter.
However, the full team is made up of a small team of 4 partners, small seasoned mixologists, and an intern… Each takes on small roles from events, to marketing, but it’s Brian’s tireless efforts that make spirits happen. In the Tasting room, it’s all about seasoned bartenders.
THE TASTING ROOM
Wander North’s Tasting Room is a must-try. Not only because of the intimate tours you can request, but also because some of their infusions, syrups, and liqueurs are ONLY available on-site.
Standard Cocktail recipes were created in collaboration between Distiller and Bar team, however, the Seasonal menu changes regularly based on crowd favorites and created by bartenders as they perfect their skills with syrups, fresh juices, and various local and seasonal products.
Distiller’s Favorite? Make sure to try the Orange Liqueur, “I’d put it against any other in the market…” Brian tells me.
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WANDER NORTH’S SPIRITS
Wander North specializes in 4 main spirits. All are truly “Grain to Glass” locally-sourced and produced. (You could also call it “Grain to Plate” – Wander North donates their spent corn to an 80 year old hog farmer.)
The grain itself comes from Rosemount, MN. However, from that point, it is controlled 100% by head distiller Brian Winter on site at Wander North’s production facility. Brian gave me a quick lesson of distilling a spirit.
- MASH – Mills grains in house, then adds Hot Water, Enzymes. The grain Starches combine to produce fermentable sugars.
- FERMENTATION – Adding yeast, sugars are turned in to alcohol.
- DISTILL – Brian’s hand-made still removes the water.
- FINISH – Filter, Age, Add Botanicals… This is what gives Wander North’s products unique flavor and distinguishable character.
WANDER NORTH’S OUTPOST VODKA
#1 Seller and most refined product is Wander North’s Vodka. It’s a bit more flavorful than a traditional “neutral” vodka. The grain in fermentation and distillation allows some of the flavors to still come through. Wander North does this to their vodka giving it a unique flavor that is perfect in a cocktail.
WANDER NORTH’S WAYPOINT GIN
Wander North’s gin imparts less Juniper than most traditional well-known gins (like Tanqueray), but instead focuses on more local botanicals that give it noteable and unique flavor. (Look for a Junipery-aged beer at Fair State aged in Gin Barrels from Wander North in 2017!)
WANDER NORTH’S UNCHARTED WHISKEY
Limited release malt mash aged 1 year.
Winter’s Corn Whiskey – aged three months in used barrels, it is 100% corn. Carries a lot of the sweetness of the corn through.
APPLEJACK AMERICAN APPLE BRANDY
A hugely popular and flavorful brandy aged for 3 months in Sociable Cider Werks‘ barrels and using their fresh-pressed juices. The Wander North Applejack is hard to come by, because of the rarity of the juice, however, if you can find it, it’s one of the best!
UPCOMING LOCAL TREND: “BEER-SPIRIT”
After meeting Brian and hearing about the collaborations he is doing with local breweries, I’m sure this is going to be the next big trend: Beer-Spirit.
I honestly don’t know the name of it, so I’m going with “Beer-Spirit,” but what I really mean is a spirit that imparts some of the flavors of notealbe and recognizable flagship products from local craft breweries, but maintains the “proof” of a high-quality spirit.
Wander North is leading the charge of the local distilleries working with local craft breweries to create unique spirits.
WHO ARE YOU WORKING WITH NOW? BARREL TRADING
FAIR STATE BREWING‘s head brewer Nico is working with Brian to create a beer aged in a gin barrel to extract some of the Juniper flavor.
Northgate kicked it off, with a 1 year-aged whiskey made from their “Get Together IPA” and 612 Brew “Unrated” – You can go have the shot and the beer and taste the similarities and differences. It really highlights the raw materials and makes a distinguishable whiskey (ie. Hops imparts grassy flavor).
MODIST BREWING – Wander North has taken their mash and turned it in to whiskey! Now you just have to wait appropriately aged time to try it.
GO CHECK THEM OUT LOCALLY!
at WANDER NORTH TASTING ROOM
771 Harding St. N.E., Ste. 150
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Many of the unique liqueurs and cocktails can only be found at the Tasting Room so go try a regular-honed and seasonal menu of superb spirits!