A visit to Dunord

Here we go…..

The best introduction to Du Nord Craft Spirits is to read the interview of Chris Montana, co-founder and co-owner. Du Nord Craft Spirits is so much the brainchild of partner and couple Chris and Shanelle Montana that the distillery is at their images.

Chris Montana on the day of our meeting
What they do
What they do:

Fitzgerald Gin.

New western style, fresh and soft.
Etoile Vodka year-round. 

It’s a vodka in which the base material (grain) is actually very prominent. Not overpowering at all, it smoothes the alcohol in a comforting way.Apple du Nord

It’s a spiced apple liqueur made from Minnesota-grown apples

Who they are, who is behind it (in their words):

It takes a Family

In 2013, Chris Montana had a crazy idea to start a distillery in the middle of the city he loved. The goal was to start a family business that would bring together Shanelle Montana’s rural upbringing on a Cold Spring, MN farm and Chris’ experience growing up in Minneapolis. The result is Du Nord Craft Spirits, a scrappy distillery born of rural practicality and city vibe. Since 2013, the Du Nord family has grown from those small beginnings; what we do today is a result of the collective efforts of a group of people who bring their unique talents to the Du Nord team. Du Nord is committed to diversifying the craft alcohol community and actively recruits the underrepresented communities of women and racial minorities to join the Du Nord family. 

Chris and Shanelle Montana

Shanelle Montana’s path wound from a small farm in central Minnesota to college in St. Paul, and a Masters degree in Washington, D.C. While living on the east coast, she maintained her Minnesota cred: showing the state of Maryland how to fish and finding time to return to the woods for the deer hunting opener. Even though on a daily basis Shanelle focuses on making sure the lights stay on by developing renewable energy projects, she also manages regulatory and reporting requirements and leads Du Nord marketing. 
Chris Montana grew up in several different neighborhoods in Minneapolis but spent most of his time in South Minneapolis and Prospect Park. Chris attended public schools in Minneapolis and later earned an English degree from the University of the District of Columbia, and a law degree from Hamline University. Chris is still a licensed attorney, but prefers to make booze. Chris’ first passion was electoral politics which led to travels all over the country and eventually to work as a congressional aide in D.C. (working for Minneapolis of course). Chris used his organizing skills to convince a smart and sassy intern named Shanelle to give him the time of day; it only took him 7 years. When not making booze or sifting through paperwork, Chris is usually eating a dessert of some kind while playing with his sons. Chris wears many hats but primarily acts as CEO and head distiller.

And you need to read this article to know more about it!

The still at Du Nord Craft Spirits // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler