Cheers to Emerging Local Spirits

“Can you spot the fence jumper?”

A Facebook video post shows the sheep at Christian Myrah’s farm eating away at the trough when suddenly the camera zeroes in on a large horse. Reminiscent of the old Sesame Street song, “One of These Things is Not Like the Others.”

That’s life on the farm. Caring for animals (even fence-jumpers) and working the fields. For Christian Myrah, the farm life offers another great opportunity – the opportunity to open up a whiskey distillery.

“We have all the natural resources here in southeast Minnesota to make good whiskey. We have limestone filtered water, same as in Kentucky, but we’re upstream, so it may even be better. We have the grains that lend themselves to whiskeys. And some of the best white oak for whiskey barrels grows right around here,” he says.

True to his word, Christian has started Rockfilter Distillery in Spring Grove. A small, craft distillery that will focus on whiskeys using only organic products, Rockfilter hopes to be serving in its cocktail lounge in Spring Grove by Homecoming 2017.

Why Spring Grove?

“I think I’d be the fourth generation of my family to farm here,” Christian says. “It doesn’t seem to be like other communities where Main Street is empty. We have Ye Olde Opera House, a local art gallery, the heritage center, and Spring Grove Communications is a forward-thinking company. We have high-speed fiber optic cable that people in the Twin Cities may not have.”

Right now, the whiskey is aging in barrels and Christian is sorting out the red-tape that comes with opening up an artisan distillery in Minnesota. “We’re not just using corn and rye,” Christian says, “we’re experimenting with different grains that we grow right here.”

Located in the old creamery building, Rockfilter Distillery will bring something different to Spring Grove, including new cocktails featuring Spring Grove Soda Pop.

By Homecoming 2017, locals will be able to hold a glass high and toast the newest business venture in the big-little town of Spring Grove.

Story by Tyler Omoth