Duluth Loves Local Spotlight – Vikre Distillery

We got together with Old Saw Media to create videos of some of our favorite local businesses. These local spotlight videos were created to show locals and tourists alike what makes each local business unique and special in Duluth, MN. Shopping local means supporting your friends and neighbors, and helps keep our money in the local economy, what’s better than that?

This spotlight features one of favorite places to bring friends for a good cocktail, Vikre Distillery. They have been in business for almost three years but when you walk in it feels like they have been there forever. It’s small, cozy and you can see where the magic happens behind glass walls no matter where you sit. They are currently in the running to win the USA TODAY 10Best award, the contest runs until Sept 12 and you can vote once per day/per device.

Business Name: Vikre Distillery

Owners: Emily and Joel Vikre

Years in business: Almost three!

Location: 525 Lake Avenue South, Suite 102 Duluth, MN 55802 – just a few steps from the Ariel Lift Bridge

Hours: Everyday from 1 – 11 pm, free tours daily at 5:30 pm

Known for: gin, aquavit, whiskey, general silliness

How the business started:  We were inspired by Lake Superior and the terroir of this area (its unique nature and culture).  While visiting Emily’s parents (I, Emily grew up here), we had the sudden realization that this area produces amazing natural resources for making spirits and we basically decided right then and there that we were going to learn how to distill and start a distillery in Duluth.

Favorite thing about business location:  Being right along the shore of the Lake that inspires us.  And being in a place where it’s easy for people who are walking by to take a look in and see what we’re up to.

Why Duluth for business location:  The world-class terroir, the fantastic community, and the growing creative entrepreneurial energy.

Why Duluth for you personally:  It’s home!  No matter how far I’ve roamed Duluth has always been home.  The horizon line of Lake Superior against the sky is etched on my soul.  It’s not the easiest place to live always, but it’s the best.

Favorite memory/story:  One of our favorite memories is probably when we made our first batch of gin that actually tasted like gin.  We blew our own minds.  We brought it to Thanksgiving with my family, and everyone was really impressed with us.  Which is funny looking back because the batch really wasn’t that good.  But, to go from not knowing how to distill to making something that tasted rather like gin, in the span of a year, felt pretty impressive to all of us.  Another favorite memory was the release of our first lot of Sugarbush Whiskey.  Everything about that evening was pretty fun and magical and having so many people come out to have fun and enjoy the whiskey gave us all the warm fuzzy feelings.

Favorite local business in Duluth and why:  Duluth Coffee Company because we may make spirits, but we run on coffee.

Thoughts on Duluth economy:  Seems to be the best that it’s been in a long time.  We love the creative and optimistic energy here.  And, in our own experience at least, the local government and business community have been very supportive of new businesses and quick to connect you with the resources and people that will benefit you in your work.

Thoughts on working with Old Saw Media: Was awesome.

Thoughts on Duluth Loves Local:  Such important work, highlighting all the fun, creative, inspiring things that are happening around here.  It helps local people and local businesses support each other, and that really helps an economy thrive.

Anything else you want to share with Duluth?  We love you Duluth!