To celebrate the first ever North Dakotan bourbon whiskey, we are hosting a launch dinner on May 18th complete with food pairings, craft cocktails, and an opportunity to meet the corn grower, the barrel cooper and the distiller behind the new spirit.
Proof Artisan Distillers opened in downtown Fargo in 2015 with two spirits – 2 Docks Vodka and Minions Gin. That was also the year we hauled the first load of corn from the Austin and Olivia Stenvold farm to the distillery where it would begin the long process of becoming a bourbon whiskey. Aged nearly two years in new American oak barrels made by Black Swan Cooperage near Park Rapids, MN, the bourbon is almost ready for the big time.
The menu will be prepared by Proof Artisan Distillers Executive Chef Judd Eskildsen. Chef Judd is a regular guest chef at the lodge.
History Lesson: According to Proof Distillery Chef Judd Eskildsen, this is how we know Crooked Furrow by Proof is the first legal North Dakota bourbon whiskey. In 1890, when North Dakota became a state, citizens voted to be a dry state in an attempt to drive out the Germans (who loved their beer). There may have been whiskey produced in ‘Dakota Territory’, but there are no known records of it. The State of North Dakota didn’t have legally produced beer, wine or liquor until the repeal of prohibition in 1933. It is said that this whole area was frequented by Al Capone and other bootleggers during prohibition, so it is likely distilled products came out of North Dakota during that time, but they obviously were not legal. No known distilleries have produced a legal bourbon whiskey or any whiskey since that time. For a whiskey to be called a bourbon, its mash, the mixture of grains from which the product is distilled, must contain at least 51% corn and the distillate must be aged in a new charred oak barrel. So there you have it. Crooked Furrow is the first North Dakotan bourbon whiskey!