Brother Justus Whiskey Co., a Minneapolis-based craft distillery, announced its first steps in increasing distribution of its American single malt whiskey products: doubling production with the addition of a second still and four more fermenters, and an expanded contract with Breakthru Beverage Group to bring its products to select restaurants and retailers in the Chicago area, beginning in November. To support the company’s aggressive growth trajectory, it has promoted Helen Hardy to president and Stacy Pagano to chief marketing officer, and appointed industry-veteran Cody Souders to lead national sales.
Meanwhile, the company’s patent pending Cold-Peated American Single Malt Whiskey (and the Aitkin County Process used to create it) earned second place and was the only producer to be honored (nationally) in the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) annual Innovation Showcase, honoring industry-shaking ideas from all areas of spirits production and supply chain. The company also earned a spot on the “short list” as a finalist for London-based SB Awards (put on by The Spirits Business); the SB Award for Innovation in Production final results will be announced in late November. Additionally, among the more than two dozen medals and awards that Brother Justus has earned so far this year, that same Cold-Peated American Single Malt Whiskey was named the third- best American Single Malt (overall) in the prestigious International Whisky Competition.
“Minnesota’s rich and unique natural ingredients, combined with Brother Justus being the first and only whiskey producer in the world to responsibly use whole peat instead of peat smoke in whiskey, is setting a smart and fast growth trajectory. Our team and infrastructure are ready,” said Phil Steger, founder and CEO of Brother Justus Whiskey Co. “Minnesota should be the same to American single malt whiskey as Kentucky is to Bourbon; the land produces some of the highest quality natural whiskey ingredients in the world. The attention Brother Justus has earned regarding the innovation and quality of our products prove it.”
The company focuses solely on American single malt whiskey, the fastest-growing whiskey category in the industry. Its core products are American, Silver (the first clear American single malt whiskey in the industry made to showcase the flavor of the barley, first and foremost), and industry-applauded Cold- Peated American Single Malt.
American Peat Technology (APT) of Aitkin County, Minn. (a county composed of 30 percent peatlands in a state with 6 million acres of peat), the company’s peat provider for its Cold-Peated Whiskey, worked together to develop Torv RökTM, a first-of-its-kind granular peat product for filtering and finishing spirits. Brother Justus uses this peat in the Aitkin County Process it invented. That process uses peat’s natural filtering abilities to remove rough edges and off-flavors, leaving whiskey smoother with unmistakable characteristics of peat.
“With this approach, consumers actually experience peat in a far more natural form, instead of as burned peat smoke— the peat, not the heat!’ said Steger. “As we grow to license this process of peat usage, it will help craft distillers all over the world make better whiskey more efficiently, and consumers will benefit from a whole new world of flavor profiles.”
“From the day we met Phil in our Aitkin County peat bogs, we were drawn to his vision for Cold-Peated whiskey,” said Brad Pieper, CEO of APT. “His vision perfectly aligns with our mission of creating global impact by unlocking the potential of overlooked resources. Through our partnership with Brother Justus, we look forward to enriching an industry steeped in tradition, while connecting people with each other and the land.”
In 2024, the company expects to finish 5,200 nine-liter cases of Brother Justus American Single Malt Whiskey to be sold in Minnesota and Illinois as it works aggressively to bring its award-winning whiskey to more markets around the world.