The Lake of the Woods Economic Development Authority (EDA) met last Wednesday where it was encouraged by EDA Director Ryan Zemek that they agree to file an application for a $200,000 grant from the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) Program.
The project is the Lake of the Woods Distilling Company. The new manufacturing and tasting room business will be owned and operated by an ownership group. The group has purchased the Fischer’s True Value building on Main Avenue in downtown Baudette and that will serve as the location of the new business.
The hearing to determine if the EDA would go ahead with the application was quick, with all members on board and vocally supportive of the project.
The distillery and tasting room is expected to hire a minimum of nine employees with wages ranging from $13 to $33 per hour.
Following the hearing, the NLR sat down with Brittney Peterson of Baudette, a member of the project’s ownership group.
“Manufacturing is the main part of the new business,” Peterson said.
She explained they plan to distill a vodka, gin, rum, whiskey and tequila.
“We are hoping to have large windows so that while you sit in the tasting room, you’ll be able to witness the distilling process in the other room,” Peterson explained.
She also explained the tasting room will taking on a “loungey” feel with a rustic design and dim lighting with a potential rooftop lounge down the road in the future.
The tasting room would feature a menu of specialty cocktails made with the Lake of the Woods Distilling Company products.
The lounge would not have a kitchen as it is not allowed inside a manufacturing facility but Peterson said they would have a catering license and be able to cater in-house or outside groups’ events.
“We’re all very excited about the project. The main thing is the job creation we hope to provide as well as drawing more people into downtown Baudette, and not just driving through town,” Peterson said.
The group plans to officially take over the building some time in November after Fischer’s True Value has completed its going out of business sale.
It is hoped that the new distillery and tasting room will be up and running by summer or fall 2021.