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Amy Chaffins, Forum News Service, Published January 14 2013

Minnesota-made whiskey hits shelves

OSAKIS, Minn. – Panther Distillery, Minnesota’s first and only legal whiskey distillery, has bottled its first batch of White Water Whiskey, which hit local liquor shelves last week.

“We started bottling by hand around Christmas, and now, we’ll meet with our sales team to start going statewide,” said Master Distiller Brett Grinager.

During Minnesota tasting and signing events held in Alexandria, Osakis and Nelson, Grinager and Panther Distillery owner Adrian Panther visited with customers about the new whiskey and its production process.

The distillery opened last summer, and staff started barreling signature whiskey and bourbon liquors, which will be aged two years and ready in spring of 2014.

In the meantime, they are producing White Water Whiskey – a clear, unaged whiskey-flavored liquor made from corn.

There are also plans to make a gin, rye whiskey and rum-flavored liquor made from locally grown sugar beets. The distillery sources its ingredients locally.

Since opening they’ve added more equipment, Grinager said.

“We hope to keep growing and hopefully start getting more orders,” he said.

Grinager said they’re staying busy providing tours to people who stop in to the distillery in the Osakis industrial park.

“With the bottle release, we hope to get a buzz going so people will want to come here to see where our whiskey is made,” Grinager said.

Staff is also working with state legislators to start allowing tastings at the distillery.