MSUM Alum Starts Craft Distilllery, Far North Spirits

Cheri Reese, a 1989 graduate of MSU Moorhead, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English, has started a craft distillery, Far North Spirits, near Hallock, Minn., with her husband, Michael Swanson. The husband-wife duo released their first spirit, Solveig Gin, in mid-December.

Familial ties to the land around their hometown of Hallock brought these fourth-generation farmers, Reese and Swanson, back from their previous home in bustling St. Paul, Minn.

The distillery sits on a working family farm only 25 miles from neighboring Canada in the northwest corner of Minnesota. They will rely on a field-to-glass farming model and their Scandinavian heritage to capture Minnesota’s character, history and agricultural abundance. Far North Spirits aims to exceed the industry’s highest standards of authenticity and quality as they produce small-batch, craft-distilled products.

As the northernmost distillery in the contiguous United States, Far North Spirits will mainly focus their distribution efforts to include areas in Minnesota and North Dakota, like the Red River Valley, the North Shore and lake country areas in Minnesota and the Twin Cities. Reese and Swanson have chosen St. Paul-based Johnson Brothers as their exclusive statewide distributor for both Minnesota and North Dakota.

The distillery will use custom-made copper stills from Kentucky to produce 4,700 cases of spirits during its first year of production, including gin, spiced rum, available in March, and rye whiskey, available in early 2015.

Visit for updates on Reese and Swanson’s highly anticipated products.