Osakis-based Panther Distillery, Minnesota's first and only legal whiskey distillery, bottled its first batch of White Water Whiskey and it hit local liquor store shelves last Friday.
"It's going really good," said Master Distiller Brett Grinager. "We started bottling by hand around Christmas and now, we'll meet with our sales team to start going statewide."
During last weekend's tasting and signing events held in Alexandria, Osakis and Nelson, Grinager and Panther Distillery owner, Adrian Panther, visited with customers about the new whiskey and its production process.
The distillery opened last summer and staff started barreling signature whiskey and bourbon liquors, which will be aged for two years and ready in spring of 2014.
In the meantime, they are producing White Water Whiskey - a clear, unaged whiskey-flavored liquor made from corn.
There are also plans to make a gin, a rye whiskey and rum-flavored liquor made from locally grown sugar beets. The distillery sources its ingredients locally.
Since opening, Grinager said, "We've added more equipment and we're working to get it hooked up. We hope to keep growing and hopefully start getting more orders."
Grinager said they're staying busy providing tours to people who stop in to the distillery in the Osakis industrial park.
"With the bottle release, we hope to get a buzz going so people will want to come here to see where our whiskey is made," Grinager said.
Staff is also working with state legislators to start allowing tastings at the distillery.
Here are comments some customers made after taking a sip of the White Water Whiskey at Cash Wise Liquor:
"It warms you all the way down."
"Very good, very smooth."
"It's smooth with a bump at the end."