A Sip of Knowledge with Michael Swanson, Owner Of Far North Spirits (A Spirited Conversation)

Hosts: Liz Rhoades, Lew Bryson, & Martin Duffy

What You’ll Learn: Join a trio of drink industry veterans in weekly conversation on whiskey, spirits, distilling, marketing and the current state of the drink industry. This week, Michael Swanson, Owner and Head Distiller at Far North Spirits, joins the group.

About Michael Swanson:

Michael Swanson is head distiller, farmer and, with his wife, Cheri Reese, owner of Far  North Spirits, one of a handful of craft distilleries in the U.S. that also grows its own  grain. In 2013, he built the distillery in the middle of what was a wheat field on the  Swanson family farm near the Canadian border. He makes whiskey, gin and rum while  also growing rye and corn to support the distilling operation. He has been earnestly  studying 15 different rye grain varietals’ influence on flavor in whiskey since 2015,  with a planned March 2021 release of a first-of-its-kind rye study.

Prior to living out his dream of making award-winning craft spirits, he worked as a ski  bum in Vail, a pharmaceutical sales rep in Idaho, a medical researcher in Denver, a  food/wine writer in Minneapolis and a marketing manager for a Fortune 500  company in St. Paul – turns out, the ideal career path for an aspiring whiskey farmer.  His intention of making the family farm sustainable for the next 100 years drew him  home. He received his bio/chem degree from Concordia College and his MBA from St.  Thomas University.

About the Hosts: 

  • Lew Bryson, former managing editor for Whisky Advocate Magazine for 20 years, whiskey author, beer/whiskey writer and presenter.