In 2013, Chris and Shanelle Montana co-founded Du Nord Social Spirits as a way to bridge the rural-urban divide by using grain grown on Shanelle’s family farm in rural Minnesota and using it to distill spirits in south Minneapolis. This year, Du Nord celebrates 10 years in business.
As one of the first Black-owned distilleries in the country, an important effort at Du Nord has always been to remove barriers for others. Chris served as president of the American Craft Spirits Association for two years, and one result was the formation of the STEPUP Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, that provides underserved and underrepresented individuals with training, encouragement, and opportunities to enter the craft spirits community through a comprehensive internship program.
CEO and head distiller, Chris Montana’s journey to owning a distillery was anything but traditional. His philosophical exploration of free will, inspired by Shakespearean plays and discussions with professors, led him away from his career in politics and law towards establishing Du Nord Social Spirits.
A lot has happened in the past 10 years. A few highlights:
- In 2014, Du Nord won its first award with vodka garnering the Triple Gold at the Microliquor Spirit Awards with many more to follow over the years
- In 2015, Du Nord opened the first ever cocktail room in Minneapolis.
- In 2021, Delta Air Lines selected Du Nord as an on-air beverage partner and now carries Du Nord vodka on all flights – both domestic and international
Now in 14 states, Du Nord produces six award-winning spirits: Foundation Vodka, Prominence Gin, Barrelled Gin, Cafe Frieda Coffee Liqueur, Pronounced Apple Liqueur, and Mixed Blood Whiskey.
Du Nord invites everyone to celebrate this milestone with them by offering $10 off by using promo code TENYEARS at www.shopdunord.com, good now through December 31, 2023. Raise a glass and share the bottle!