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Osakis: Site of first whiskey distillery in state

Dirt has been turned at the site of a new whiskey distillery in Osakis. Panther Distillery is on track to be the first whiskey distillery in the state.

It's official - a whiskey distillery will be built in Osakis.

On Monday, August 22, excavating and construction crews started digging in to build a 5,000 square foot facility for Panther Distillery in the city's industrial park.

"I'm really excited about it," said owner Adrian Panther. "[The project] hasn't moved as fast as I'd like, but things are beginning to really move right along."

Panther, a businessman from Golden, Colorado, owns rural property in the Osakis area.

Panther said he's on track to open the first whiskey distillery in Minnesota.

Over the next few weeks, framing and concrete work will be under way at the site. Boilers, chillers and stills have been purchased, Panther said, and now, he's waiting for federal permit approval.

"This is really going to be fun," Panther said. "The city of Osakis has been fantastic to work with; they've been part of the program all the way through. Everyone from the city council to the state inspectors - they all want to see [the distillery] go up and they're excited about it too."

Panther said he's also spoken with local growers asking if they'd be interested in growing corn and wheat for Panther Distillery.

"We're going to make a very Minnesota product," he said.

In the meantime, Osakis native Brett Grinager has been hired as Panther Distillery's brew master.