Lost Falls Distillery on its way to 38th & Chicago

Credit: Photo by Andy Underwood-Bultmann

A taste-driven spirits distillery is planning to open later this winter at 38th & Chicago.

The founders of Lost Falls Distillery are planning spirits with sorghum and honey, an aquavit, a lightweight moonshine, and a dark cherry rum that draws from a pioneer recipe.

Lost Falls will initially sell through local bars and restaurants, later expanding to liquor stores in the spring.

Co-founder Nils Collins said the trend in small distilleries is similar to the craft beer movement.

“We’re filling a niche — Budweiser started making rice-based beer as cheap as they could,” Collins said. “With spirits, the same thing happened. There is so much more creativity happening within craft distilleries.”

When the “Surly law” eased licensing for craft brewers, the cost of craft distillery licensing also dropped. But Collins anticipates more lobbying work ahead. At the moment, distilleries can’t actually sell liquor onsite, and the tasting amounts are low, he said, about 45 mL per person.

“A group of us have started a Minnesota Distiller Guild, and we’re working to share information,” Collins said.

From its new home at 38th & Chicago, the owners would like to support local farmers and collaborate with small businesses, such as Minneapolis-based Beez Kneez honey.

“It’s part of my personality, after working in a cooperative for so long,” Collins said.

Collins has worked in management since 2001 at the Seward Cafe on Franklin, a collectively-run business. Head distiller Brian Nackerud is a vintage marine systems engineer at Great Northern Boatworks, and he’s been producing wine and beer for two decades. Collins lives in the Powderhorn neighborhood, and Nackerud lives in St. Paul. They attended North High School in St. Paul together.

Lost Falls recently enjoyed a cash infusion from crowdfunding on Kickstarter, raising more than $15,000 in December to surpass its $11,500 goal.

The distillery will operate in the basement of 3722 Chicago Ave. S., located below CityFoodStudio, which is planning a grand opening this winter. The space is a commercial kitchen for food entrepreneurs, with classes and pop-up retail. Partners include Bread Star Rising, craft ice cream maker Froz Broz, and Tempe Betjak, a tempe line made from organic soybeans.