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By Pamela Knudson | Grand Forks Herald
Tyler Seim of Grand Forks has launched a new crafts distillery, making vodka from sugar beets in an operation based at 4051 Gateway Drive. Seim began the Red Pine Distillery in February, and his products have been available in retail businesses since March, he said.
His business is heavily focused on supplying products to liquor stores in Grand Forks and Fargo, but also has retail customers in Devils Lake, Minot and Williston, he said.
He estimates that he is producing about 50 to 75 cases of vodka a month, the amount that he likes to have on hand to fill orders from his distributor, he said.
But he has the capacity to produce 150 to 200 cases a month, he said. Each case holds 12, 750-milliliter bottles.
The process of producing a batch of vodka takes about three weeks, he said.
He obtains sugar beets from David Thompson of Thompson Brothers, a farm group located 10 miles north of East Grand Forks, next to the farm of his parents, Darren and Debbie Nelson, where he grew up.
In his distillery, Seim also uses a concentrated sugar beet syrup from American Crystal Sugar in Hillsboro, N.D., where he is employed full time as an engineer.
Seim sells his products to Johnson Brothers, a distributor in Fargo that has also introduced his products to its restaurant and bar clients, he said.
He is experimenting with gin and another product that's similar to rum, also with a sugar beet base, he said, and is planning to venture into the production of whiskey and brandy, also using sugar beets.
Seim earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from UND in 2015.
"A big part of the curriculum was distillation, the separation of chemicals," he said.
That sparked his interest in the production of beer, wine and spirits and "grains, grapes, apples—whatever you can ferment."
His new business combines his interest in distillation with the use of agricultural products that are prevalent in this area.
"It was something I found interesting, as far as the product goes," Seim said.
He's intrigued by "the variety of products you can make out of the same ingredients."
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May 14, 2018 at 08:40AM