Hallock, Minn. – Ålander Spiced Rum, craft distilled in extreme northwestern Minnesota by Far North Spirits, is now available on board Viking Line’s cruise ferries that serve Sweden, Finland and Estonia with a base in Mariehamn on the Åland Islands.
“Ålander got its name from these beautiful islands in the northern Baltic,” said owner and distiller Michael Swanson. “We never conceived that a small batch rum made in Hallock would make a four-thousand mile journey. It’s quite the trip.”
Though made in the heart of sugar beet country, Ålander (pronounced OH-lander) is distilled from sugar cane, a federal requirement to qualify as rum. Its name is a reference to the Åland Islands in the northern Baltic, one of the only places in the world that uses sugar beets to make rum.
“In the strive to continuously develop and improve the assortment we offer our customers on board our ships, we found Far North Spirits and wanted to tell the story about the company and the product Ålander,” noted Carl Mörn, head of Viking’s commercial operations.
To make Minnesota's first rum, distillery owner Michael Swanson took an uncompromising approach and selected the highest quality ingredients he could find.
The rum is distilled in small batches using a combination of turbinado and demerara sugars sourced from Louisiana and Florida. The resulting base spirit is an exceptionally clear and delicious Puerto Rican-style rum. Unlike most spiced rums, which are made using artificial flavors, Ålander is infused by hand with whole bean spices: Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans, Korintje cinnamon from Indonesia and cinnamon from Sri Lanka, clove and nutmeg from India and allspice from Guatamala. Spice infusion times vary; some are a matter of hours, others take up to three weeks. The rum is finished with a very brief infusion of organic coffee beans, espresso-roasted by Minneapolis-based Peace Coffee, to provide additional depth and roundness. It is bottled at 86 proof.
In a nod to Minnesota's lake country culture, the bold black bottle features of map of Oak Island at Lake of the Woods where the distiller’s family has enjoyed summers at their cabin since 1985.
Far North Spirits is also available in Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and North Dakota.
About Far North Spirits: Far North Spirits, the northernmost distillery in the contiguous United States, is located on the fourth-generation Swanson family farm 400 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Far North Spirits is a field-to-glass distillery, meaning the owners also farm the grains used in their gin and whiskey, and hand select everything else – from the grains to the botanicals and spices. Its spirits are distilled in small batches using custom-made Vendome copper pot stills from Kentucky.
It is the only field-to-glass distillery in Minnesota and one of less than 50 nationwide.
About Viking Line: Viking Line is a public limited company and a market-leading brand in passenger traffic on the northern Baltic Sea. It offers passenger services, recreation and cargo carrier services on the vessels Gabriella, Mariella, Amorella, Rosella, Viking Cinderella, Viking XPRS and on the new flagship Viking Grace.
During 2013 Viking Line transported 6.5 million passengers.