A period and a fractional aft the archetypal Irish immigrants settled successful Minnesota, 2 enterprising fourth-generation descendants are down the country's archetypal American whiskey to beryllium made successful the Irish style, close successful Minneapolis' Prospect Park.
But, arsenic cousins Patrick and Michael O'Shaughnessy are speedy to constituent out, it is not an "Irish American" whiskey.
"For method [and branding reasons], what we marque successful the United States we cannot telephone Irish whiskey, truthful what we are making is an American whiskey successful the Irish style," said Michael O'Shaughnessy. "We don't privation to get successful crossways with our partners astatine the Irish Whiskey Association implicit successful Ireland," helium added with a laugh.
Patrick, Michael and Michael's father, Jerry, person been preparing their distillery since 2018, and are yet opening the doors of O'Shaughnessy Distilling Co. — a 27,000-square-foot installation located successful an aged murphy mill astatine 600 Malcolm Av. SE. — this week. (Conveniently, it volition neighbour Surly Brewing Co., allowing for one-stop tasting.)
Although their Tower Hill vodka and Guard & Gate gin volition beryllium disposable on-site, the distillery's pridefulness and joyousness volition beryllium its Irish-style whiskey, the thought for which Patrick O'Shaughnessy said began somewhat arsenic a lark.
"We were astatine a household reunion … drinking immoderate Irish whiskey, and joking around: 'Wouldn't it beryllium large if we had thing similar this to stock with our family?' " helium recalls.
The O'Shaughnessy ancestors escaped the notorious Irish Potato Famine successful the mid-1800s, yet settling successful Stillwater. Now, 4 generations removed, that household reunion numbered much than 300 relatives from each implicit the country, not conscionable successful Minnesota.
Michael, who is based successful Wichita, Kan., is president of Globe Resources Group consulting firm; Patrick is simply a wide spouse astatine Brightstone Venture Capital successful the Twin Cities. The cousins had worked unneurotic before, but they saw a Minneapolis-based distillery not lone arsenic a coagulated concern idea, but a mode to make thing unneurotic with family.
"Historically, Irish whiskey was the world's whiskey pre-Prohibition," Patrick said, adding that it is the world's fastest-growing spirits category. "We knew we wanted to bash thing that touched connected our roots."
Tapping an Irish source
So backmost to that insignificant contented of it being intolerable to marque "Irish American whiskey" successful the United States. For whiskey to adjacent beryllium made successful the Irish style, it indispensable beryllium distilled utilizing a triple copper cookware still. Sourcing 1 was difficult, but not impossible, but who adjacent knew however to marque it successful the aged Irish way? The reply was crossed the Atlantic, successful the metropolis of Cork, Ireland.
Michael and Patrick reached retired to Brian Nation, a maestro distiller who had overseen specified well-known products arsenic the Jameson and Redbreast whiskey lines. Nation agreed to instrumentality the cousins' call, which went truthful good that they soon were connected a transatlantic formation with Michael's father, Jerry, successful tow.
"We met Brian and his wife, Una, astatine the Hayfield Manor successful Cork, for what mightiness person conscionable been a drink," Michael said. He was prepared for that archetypal solid to beryllium the archetypal — and perchance past — of immoderate imaginable relation with Nation. But 5 hours later, they were chatting and laughing similar aged friends.
"We could person had each the aforesaid visions astir what the concern could beryllium — which I deliberation [Nation] did — but if it weren't for that instantaneous transportation … we would not beryllium having this speech close now," Michael said.
The O'Shaughnessys hired Nation to beryllium their maestro distiller, luring him distant from the Midleton Distillery, wherever helium had worked for much than 2 decades, to make their whiskey from scratch.
"The passion, the warmth and the thrust they had to present this truly did excite me," Nation said earlier this summertime from his soon-to-be-former location successful Cork. "Creating an Irish-style whiskey successful America I felt was thing that wasn't truly done before, and it created successful maine an excitement of moving to a caller country, being progressive successful designing a caller distillery and processing a marque from the crushed up."
Nation and the O'Shaughnessys are sourcing malted and unmalted barley from Minnesota and neighboring states and volition past distill it successful that oh-so-important triple copper cookware still. Even arsenic Nation volition beryllium distilling successful the accepted Irish method, helium volition beryllium incorporating New World techniques.
"We're going to marque a consecutive cookware inactive whiskey that volition beryllium distilled astatine a little impervious than typically it would beryllium successful Ireland," Nation said, which volition springiness the liquor a much absorbing spirit profile. "And past we [will] mature it successful virgin American oak casks. That volition beryllium antithetic due to the fact that successful Ireland it would typically beryllium refilled American barrels.
"So we're bringing that American twist to the quintessential Irish accepted mode of making cookware inactive whiskey."
At the aforesaid time, Nation volition besides "Irish-ize" rye and bourbon-style whiskeys and experimentation with assorted casking strategies, frankincense completing the ellipse of boozy beingness betwixt Old and New Worlds.
"There is an creation to it, determination is simply a trade to it, and it's making definite we person each of the antithetic components really contributing to the wide spirit of the whiskey," Nation said.
The hold is on
Those hoping to sensation a sip of O'Shaughnessy-distilled Minnesota whiskey, cautiously lorded implicit by Nation's seasoned hands, volition person to hold a fewer years arsenic the merchandise ages successful barrels. Not to worry, arsenic Nation has been engaged making Keeper's Heart, a blended Irish and American whiskey that is connected the distillery's paper now.
"The vibrance and spiciness of the [American] rye truly does complement some the Irish pot-stilled and the Irish blended whiskey," Nation said of his concoction.
In summation to being capable to bask Keeper's Heart, vodka and gin, the distillery is fostering a destination wherever visitors volition larn astir the whiskey-making process, instrumentality a tour, dine connected nutrient from cook Vince Ricciardelli, enactment successful tastings and bask trade cocktails by maestro mixologist Pip Hanson — portion staring astatine the 3 copper cookware stills utilized for their Minnesota whiskey.
"What we privation is radical to not conscionable person a large clip drinking whiskey oregon whiskey cocktails with their friends, but for those who are inclined to [get] a world-class acquisition connected however you marque not conscionable Irish whiskeys but American whiskeys," said Michael. (See beneath for circuit details.)
And erstwhile it comes to American whiskeys, the O'Shaughnessys could bash acold worse than spouse David Perkins, who founded High West Distillery successful Utah. From his location successful Park City, Perkins volition marque occasional trips to Minneapolis successful his capableness arsenic "liquid collaborator and adviser."
"If you'd asked maine 2 years agone what I thought astir a consecutive rye whiskey mixed with an Irish cookware whiskey, there's nary mode I would person said, 'That's a large idea,' " Perkins said of Keeper's Heart. "But it turns retired it's a large idea. It's delicious."
Perkins and Nation some stress that the concern volition proceed experimenting arsenic they grow. The Twin Cities' acceptance — oregon rejection — of caller flavors oregon blends volition supply the astir contiguous feedback.
"Every time is simply a schoolhouse day," said Nation. "You'll ever larn something."
A destination zone
The cardinal players astatine O'Shaughnessy said their extremity for the remainder of this twelvemonth and heading into 2022 is to springiness radical a Prospect Park destination, earning their spot and loyalty 1 sip astatine a time. Eventually, they anticipation to grow regionally and yet nationally.
"The Prospect Park vicinity with ourselves, Surly and present Malcolm [Yards] nutrient hall, truly creates a trifecta destination zone," Patrick O'Shaughnessy said. "The metropolis has been extraordinarily supportive of our task [to fashion] a spot for Minneapolis and section residents to telephone location erstwhile they travel present and person a shared acquisition astatine the distillery."
The unit is connected to guarantee that Patrick, Michael and Jerry O'Shaughnessy person distilled beverages, bearing the household name, that spell implicit good not conscionable astatine the adjacent household reunion, but successful the metropolis their ancestors immigrated to successful the mid-19th century.
"Anything we enactment our sanction on, we've got to bash it right," Michael said. "That starts with gathering a world-class installation that we tin beryllium arrogant of successful Minneapolis, that the radical who enactment with america tin beryllium arrogant of."
Where: 600 Malcolm Av. SE., Mpls., 763-338-0914
Hours: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m. – 8 p.m., Closed: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Tours: Education is simply a large portion of O'Shaughnessy's mission. Tours are conducted betwixt noon and 6 p.m. Tue.-Sun., by preservation only. Cost is $20 for the tour, and $5 for a whiskey tasting. Reservations volition beryllium disposable done Tock connected keepersheartwhiskey.com and osdistilling.com.
Drink up: Local whiskey sources
While O'Shaughnessy mightiness beryllium the lone Irish-style whiskey made successful town, respective section distilleries tin besides bedewed your whiskey whistle, including:
11 Wells Spirits, 704 E. Minnehaha Av., St. Paul
Bent Brewstillery, 1744 Terrace Drive, Roseville
Brother Justus, 3300 NE. 5th St., Mpls.
Copperwing Distillery, 6409 Cambridge St., St. Louis Park
Dampfwerk Distilling, 6311 Cambridge St., St. Louis Park
DuNord Craft Spirits, 2610 E. 2nd St., Mpls. (cocktail country presently closed)
Isanti Spirits, 4242 285th Av. NW., Isanti, Minn.
J. Carver Distillery, 1320 Mill Lane, Waconia
Norseman Distillery, 451 NE. Taft St., Mpls.
Panther Distillery, 300 E. Pike St., Osakis, Minn.
Studio Distilling, 2380 Wycliff St., St. Paul, retail income and tours only
Twin Spirits Distillery, 2931 Central Av. NE., Mpls.
Tattersall Distilling, 1620 Central Av. NE., Mpls.
Eric Althoff is simply a freelance writer from Virginia.