MICHAEL SWANSON + CHERI REESE, OWNERS
Michael and Cheri returned home after 25 years and built Far North Spirits in 2013 on the family’s 100-year-old farm. Michael is a fourth generation Minnesota farmer and the first in his family to marry farming with distilling.
They envisioned a portfolio of spirits focused on provenance: heritage and non-GMO grains, rich Red River Valley soil, pristine Lake Agassiz aquifer water, expertly-made Minnesota barrels, and their own Scandinavian heritage. They steadfastly believe in making the best spirits they possibly can.
Michael oversees all aspects of production from the seeds that are planted in the fields to the spirits that are put in the bottle. Cheri manages brand and PR strategy.
Michael’s background includes research, technical service, sales and marketing in Denver and St. Paul. He holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas and a BS in biology/chemistry from Concordia College, Moorhead. Cheri spent 20 years in public relations in Minneapolist-St.Paul prior to starting Far North Spirits. She holds a BA in English from Minnesota State University, Moorhead.
They spend every spare minute with their brood of critters –Weston, Millie, Ryely, Boo and Eeep.
MICHAEL: Sazerac CHERI: Negron
STEVE GJERDE, PRODUCTION MANAGER
FAVORITE COCKTAIL: Sazerac with Roknar Sauternes cask finish
DEAN LIPINKSI, ASSISTANT DISTILLER
FAVORITE COCKTAIL: Big Ginger
JOHN BEDELL, NATIONAL SALES DIRECTOR
John oversees our national sales strategy, working with distributor partners and opening new markets. He grew up in the city that’s so nice they named it twice: New York, New York. It’s there that he first met Cheri and Mike, while working as the Craft Spirits Manager at T Edward Wines, Far North’s NYC distributor. He is passionate about connecting drinkers to what goes into their glass and is ecstatic to share the story of Hallock and the Swanson farm far and wide.
He and his wife Helen are now living in California with their two young daughters – the current soundtrack to their life is anything from Elmo’s song catalogue.
FAVORITE COCKTAIL: ÅLANDER AFTER DARK
AARON ALBEE, BRAND AMBASSADOR
Aaron is Far North’s brand ambassador in Minneapolis-St. Paul. He interned with Far North in 2014 and brings his knowledge of production and distilling with him to every metro-area tasting.
He is passionate about craft spirits and experimenting with cocktails, often enlisting wife Meghan to distinguish subtle flavor differences among his original cocktail creations. Their furry brood rivals Mike and Cheri’s both in volume and demands.
You can find him on weekends pouring Far North Spirits and spinning a tale or two.