Minnesote, United States
The founders of Far North Spirits, Michael Swanson and Cheri Reese, both felt a strong calling to reconnect to their roots and create tangible, artisanal products of unwavering quality and value. Since 1917, the Swanson family has farmed the same plot of land in the Red River Valley. It's a thousand acres of rich, black soil that's perfect for growing heirloom corn and rye. The distillery, completed in 2013, is located on land that was originally used to grow wheat. Far North Spirits is the northernmost distillery in the continental United States, and its premium, heritage spirits draw inspiration from the unique culture and agricultural bounty of Minnesota. They are one of only a handful of estate distilleries in the country that also cultivate their own grains, and they're barely 25 miles from the Canadian border.
- Producer: Far North
- Vendor: Far North Spirits, Inc.
- Varietals: Gin, Rum & Whiskey
- Sustainable Practices: Far North Spirits is pleased to announce that they have been certified as a Pollinator Partnership Bee Friendly Farm. They are the United States' first certified farm distillery! They celebrated this occasion with a limited edition Limoncello sweetened with local honey (the hives are less than a mile from the distillery). To earn the title of "Bee Friendly," Far North Spirits had to meet the following standards: it provides good pollinator nutrition on at least three percent of its land; it has a variety of flowering plants throughout the growing season; it has nesting habitat like shrubs and hedges; it has a clean water source; and it uses few or no chemicals. Far North Spirits co-founder and head distiller Michael Swanson, a fourth generation farmer, believes in taking care of the land via responsible stewardship, concentrating on farming practices that encourage soil health and biological diversity. "This certification shows that we are walking the walk," Swanson said. "We are good stewards of the earth, conserving it for future generations." "Bees and other pollinators are key components of a healthy ecosystem, which results in healthy soil," Swanson explains. A healthy soil is necessary for the development of high-quality cereals. And good grains are required to make superb whiskey." This common sense method has been passed down through generations of small farms, but safeguarding pollinators is even more vital today because they are a valuable resource that is under threat. "We are very thrilled to certify and cooperate with Far North Spirits as the first Bee Friendly Farming distillery," said Miles Dakin, Pollinator Partnership's Bee Friendly Farming Coordinator. "Far North Spirits is a superb example of sustainable farming, sustaining dozens of acres of bee habitat and applying pollinator best management techniques. We are honored to provide our support to their initiatives." Since 2020, Pollinator Partnership has recognized 129,000 acres as Bee Friendly Farming, a distance of 200 miles or the distance between Minneapolis and Madison, Wisconsin. The Swanson Farm, where Far North is located, is a fourth-generation family farm that has returned over 50 acres to natural prairie grasses thanks to a government conservation program meant to motivate farmers to withdraw land from production and plant species that are environmentally beneficial. These native grasses aid in soil erosion prevention and provide a perfect habitat for bees and other local animals.
- Sustainable Certificates: Their distillery is entirely made of steel, which considerably reduces construction waste on-site. This is one of the most efficient heating systems for a building of this size, with an in-floor, closed-loop glycol radiant system that requires only a tiny, propane-fired boiler. Longer production runs in the winter months boost heating efficiency since the heat produced by the stills and mash cooker is not considered waste heat. T5 lighting is used throughout the distillery, which lowered the number of lamps and luminaries required during initial installation and reduced energy consumption. Nearly 600 trees were planted surrounding Far North Spirits, along with additional native prairie grass plantings to serve as buffer strips, erosion management, wildlife habitat, and wind breaks. Wildflowers are an important feature of these native prairie zones because they attract bees and other helpful pollinators, as well as mosquito and fly predators. In the summer, cooling is provided by strategically placed windows that open. The distillery is in a level 3 wind zone, which allows for enough air circulation on most days without the need for air conditioning.
- Country: United States
- Region: Minnesote
- Sub Region: Skane Township, Kitton County