Du Nord, Delta Announce Partnership

Minneapolis-based Du Nord Social Spirits recently announced that it will partner with Delta Air Lines as an in-flight beverage supplier. 

The last several years have brought phenomenal change for everyone. When the  pandemic hit in 2020, Du Nord Social Spirits owner, Chris Montana, wasn’t sure the  business would survive. The company had to shut down their Cocktail Room, and both  on-premise and off-premise sales took a dive. They pivoted to producing hand sanitizer  and donated over $250,000 worth of hand sanitizer to childcare centers throughout  Minnesota, most of which could not afford to purchase themselves due to financial  strain. 

In the days after George Floyd was murdered, one of Du Nord’s buildings was damaged in  a fire. A GoFundMe raised nearly $1 million from over 12,000 people all over the world.  Du Nord stepped into the moment and chose to make an opportunity from the crisis. Not  merely for themselves, but for those around them and others they haven’t met yet. Du  Nord owners Chris and Shanelle Montana took 100% of that money and formed the Du  Nord Foundation and opened their doors to organizations and entrepreneurs displaced by the upheaval in the community. They leaned into doing what they could, and in that,  they found themselves motivated to do more, both in business and in impact

Amid the uncertainty and unrest of the summer of 2020, Delta reached out to ask if Du  Nord would like to talk about supplying them. The Montanas recognized here, an even  bigger opportunity to make good and do good. Delta was looking to do something  different with their beverage program and had heard about Du Nord’s award-winning  products. As Chris Montana, recalls, “When Delta first reached out to us about this, it was  nowhere near possible for us to do any of the things they were talking about. We had to  envision a future where we were back on our feet, then able to do what they needed.” 

Montana credits Delta with being both patient and willing to do things differently. The  opportunity for a small distillery based in Minnesota to work with one of the biggest companies in the world was a huge step and was going to require extra support from  Delta for Du Nord to scale to meet the demand. As Montana sees it, “Had they been  working with a large company, certain things would have already been there. Distribution  to their various hubs would have already been there. A program for this type of  packaging in scale would have already been there. The cost structure of a fully-scaled company would have already been there.” Over the next year and a half, Du Nord and Delta met weekly to build the knowledge and readiness needed to launch. Delta agreed to stagger the launch of additional products and international route supply, to give Du Nord time to build. Delta is committed to diversifying its supplier base and “to serve products that are made by people who reflect the world we live in.”  

“Delta’s growth is tied to our customer base, and our fastest growing markets include  minorities, women, and international travelers,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian in a press release. Doing business with diverse suppliers  makes sense and is a core element of our growth strategy.”

When Chris & Shanelle Montana first started Du Nord Social Spirits, they began by  making classic spirits in ways deeply true to what they were supposed to be, making sure  that flavor and nuance remain at center stage. Recently, they changed the company  name to Du Nord Social Spirits. Social in manner and mission, because they know magic  happens when we work together, not alone. Social because Du Nord is here for those  who raise a glass and share the bottle. As Montana said, “Although on paper, we get and  fill orders, we call this a partnership because Delta is making it possible for one of the  smallest companies in the country to work with one of the largest.” 

Starting October, Du Nord Foundation Vodka will be served on domestic Delta flights as  an onboard beverage option. This spirit is smooth and easy to drink, whether on its own  or mixed. In 2022, Delta will bring on more Du Nord products and plans to launch the  spirits internationally. Du Nord plans to contribute a portion of sales to the Du Nord  Foundation.  

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