The holidays have arrived, which means stress for a lot of people. Anxiety at having to attend family get-togethers, going to work parties with co-workers you might not like, buy presents for family and friends that you keep putting off because you do not know what to buy them. RockFilter Distillery in beautiful downtown Spring Grove offers the perfect environment, safe and relaxing, for enjoying the holiday season and locally produced bourbons and whiskey. The distillery, located across the street from the region’s most fantastic holiday light display, offers shoppers an opportunity to relax and purchase one-of-a-kind gifts for family, friends, and colleagues.
“We have removed tables and stools from the bar so that everyone is 6 feet apart. We also utilized outdoor seating on nice days. We have been fortunate to have a lot of support during these COVID changes,” emphasized Kate Staton, cocktail room manager and creator.
Christian Myrah, founder & head distiller, graduated from St. Olaf and then joined the Navy. Myrah was on active duty for 12 years, where he served as a naval fighter pilot. He then spent another 12 years in the Reserve. Staton has a background in business management. She mentioned that she spent many years in the cocktail industry. There are a total of five that work at the distillery. In addition to Myrah and Staton, there is the head of production, Casey Nelson, and two bartenders, Brooke Johnson and Jessica Speicher.
Myrah began making whiskey about a year and a half before the cocktail room opened in June 2017. The distillery was located in Spring Grove because it is Myrah’s hometown. He returned to Spring Grove to raise organic cattle, sheep, and grain after leaving active duty in 2006. The business is one of only two certified farm distilleries in Minnesota, which Staton explains that the distillery grows all the grains themselves. She explained that Myrah and his father operate an organic farm that is the source for all of the grains used in whiskey production.
It helps to understand the production process to appreciate the award-winning whiskey and bourbon at RockFilter Distillery. “First, the grains are ground at Schech’s Mill in Sheldon, Minn., the oldest water-powered mill in the state. The mill still uses the original stones from 1876. The grains are then cooked in a mash cooker; this converts the starches into sugars. The mash is transferred to a fermentation tank, and yeast is added. The yeast converts the sugars to alcohol resulting in a 10-12% alcohol mash (roughly like a strong beer). That is then distilled and turned into high proof alcohol. That goes into barrels, and in a few years, we have got whiskey or bourbon. All whiskey is made from grain. It has to be distilled at less than 150 proof, barreled at 125 proof or less, and bottled at no less than 80 proof. Bourbon has to meet that criteria, plus it has to be made with at least 51% corn, aged in new shared white oak barrels and made in the United States.” – Staton
RockFilter Distillery is known for its different specials every week. Plan a visit during the upcoming holiday seasons and check out tasty flavors like cranberry, spice, eggnog, gingerbread, and cider. Bartender Speicher shared that Staton is responsible for creating the specials, and she makes her own simple syrup. Also, the distillery features locally made Spring Grove pop in their drinks. For example, the well-balanced Bourbon Sour is made with Spring Grove Lemon Sour, creating a smooth flavored drink.
The distillery offers four different organic bourbons: Giants of the Earth, Stone’s Throw, Rail Splitter, and Fence Jumper and two organic rye whiskeys: Barrel Roll and Red Rider. A bottle makes the perfect gift for your favorite whiskey or bourbon lover.
The distillery has you covered with logo hats, sweatshirts, t-shirts, and long sleeve shirts. “During the holidays, we usually offer glassware as well,” shared Staton.
The distillery is open Thursday and Friday from 4–10 p.m. and Saturday from 12-10 p.m.
Are you looking for that unique gift for a couple or a group? Guided tours of the distillery are offered the second Saturday of every month starting at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $18.00 per person and includes a private tasting. Reservations are required. Fans can call or reserve spots on www.rockfilterdistillery.com, under the Find Us Tab.
The distillery’s spirits can be found at 60 select grocery stores and restaurants throughout Minnesota and the list continues to grow. Visit their website www.rockfilterdistillery.com for an up-to-date list.
The RockFilter Distillery is located at 113 Maple Dr., Spring Grove, Minn. The staff can be reached at (507) 498-7625. The distillery can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rockfilterdistillery. Their Instagram handle is www.instagram.com/rockfilterdistillery/.