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Business North - The Daily Briefing - Business Newspaper Online
New distillery to unveil first gin varieties
Three varieties of gin will be released this week by Vikre Distillery – the first craft distillery in Duluth since pre-prohibition days.
The product line is being labeled “Boreal Gins.” They include “Boreal Juniper,” “Boreal Spruce” and “Boreal Cedar” and will be available at liquor stores and restaurants beginning this week.
Vikre Distillery was co-founded by Joel Vikre and his wife Emily Vikre, a Duluth native. The couple had been living on the East Coast, working in global health and academia, when they decided they needed a change.
“We wanted to move to somewhere where we wanted to stay, where we wanted to put down roots and participate in a community,” Emily Vikre said in a news release. “Plus, we were both starting to feel unhappy in our work, and were itching to do something more creative and tangible. We wanted to make something.”
“We started from the idea of whiskey,” said Joel Vikre. “Lake Superior water is the best in the world, as the brewers here can attest. And we have access to top quality grain, and there are even peat bogs so we can smoke the grains and make a Scotch-style single malt.”
He apprenticed in distilling at a rum distillery in Massachusetts, then they moved to Duluth and prepared a business plan.
“We’re working with Bent Paddle to ferment our distiller’s beer that we then distill into gin and the other spirits we’ll make,” Joel Vikre said. “It’s a really exciting partnership. We’re all learning a lot from each other and making world class beverages.”
“Boreal Juniper” is in the style of a traditional London Dry gin. “Boreal Spruce” has foraged spruce buds, in addition to traditional gin spices, exhibiting a piney, herbal and citrusy flavor. “Boreal Cedar” includes black currants from Bayfield and toasted cedar chips, giving it a jammy and lightly toasty, woody aroma.
The couple also plans to launch an aquavit – a Scandinavian caraway flavored liquor – later this spring and different varieties of whiskey – bourbon, rye and single malt – down the line once the whiskeys have aged long enough.
The firm is located in the Paulucci Building in Canal Park and has a store front along Lake Avenue. A grand opening will be held in April, when regular tours and tastings will also begin.
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