Feb 9, 2022 - News

Du Nord Social Spirits to build new headquarters in North Minneapolis

Chris Montana poses in front of distilling equipment. He's wearing a black polo.

Du Nord Social Spirits founder Chris Montana. Photo courtesy of Du Nord Social Spirits

Minneapolis distillery Du Nord Social Spirits is plotting a big expansion, including new headquarters, after its Lake Street warehouse was destroyed in the 2020 riots.

Why it matters: Du Nord is the country's first legal Black-owned distillery in an industry that's faced a lack of diversity.

  • While plans are still finalizing, the craft spirit brand's proposed expansions aim to bring new opportunities to small businesses and keep Du Nord's social impact mission front and center.

State of play: Founded in south Minneapolis in 2013, Du Nord is distributed nationwide and it's carried on Delta Air Lines flights.

The intrigue: Montana hadn't initially planned to advertise his business as Black-owned. At the time, he didn't even know he was the first Black distillery owner.

  • "We were just focused on the booze," Montana told Axios. "But if you want to be an agent of change, you can't do it in secret."

What's happening: Du Nord is in the process of acquiring property in south Minneapolis to open a "business incubator" and taproom, where small businesses can create and test beers, seltzers and non-alcoholic beverages.

  • Meanwhile, the company is building a new headquarters in North Minneapolis' Upper Harbor Terminal. It'll have a similar incubator space but focused on spirits and food.

Yes, and: The company wants to reinvent its former cocktail room, which closed during pandemic shutdowns and likely won't reopen.

  • Montana told Axios they're looking at a space in the Coliseum building at Lake Street and 27th Avenue to house the cocktail room's "spiritual successor."

What he's saying: "We have an opportunity to have a lasting impact if we do it right," Montana said.

  • "There will be dozens of successful companies that can trace that back to what we were able to do in Minneapolis. If that can't give you energy, I don't know what will."

What to watch: Montana hopes to have substantial construction on the headquarters completed by 2024.


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