Minnesota’s Redhead Creamery Opens World’s First CreamStillery

What is being called the world’s first “CreamStillery,” a cheese plant and distillery all under one roof, is now fully operational at Redhead Creamery in Brooten, MN.

Redhead Creamery’s facility continues to include the award-winning cheese plant and store, which opened in 2014 and are located on the family farm, Jer-Lindy Farms. The company’s cheese products include Ridiculously Good Cheese Curds, Lucky Linda Clothbound Cheddar, Clothbound Garlic Cheddar, Little Lucy Brie, North Fork Whiskey Washed Munster, Margie Cheddar, St. Anthony, Tipsy Tilsiter, and Henry’s Havarti, among others.

Redhead Creamery owners: Lucas Sjostrom, Alise Sjostrom, Linda Jennissen and Jerry Jennissen.

Additions to the business include a new farm-tour welcome and tasting area, an expanded kitchen and restaurant, automated cheese aging rooms, and a state and federally licensed winery and distillery.

But here, the main attraction is Azro’s Araga: milk wine distilled into whey spirit. Components also come from the family’s one-acre apple orchard.
The restaurant features both meals and dessert, with Minnesota-made beers, ciders and wines also available.

“With today’s construction environment, we spent a lot of time waiting, wanting and hoping alongside our contractors and customers,” said Alise Sjostrom, Redhead Creamery president and CEO. “Thankfully, we’ve got all public areas complete and we’re excited to say – ‘It’s ready!’”

“I’ve visited nearly 200 distilleries to try to bring the best components into our shop,” Lucas Sjostrom said. He’s Alise’s husband and VP of Bubbles for Redhead Creamery. “We’re excited to bring you cheese and spirits, both made 100 percent on site and all thanks to our cows.”

In collaboration with Ida Graves Distillery, Redhead Creamery already unveiled Batch 0 of its whey spirit, Azro Araga, during its annual June Curd Fest (Father’s Day Saturday each year). Azro is named after the first premier creameryman in Minnesota, Azro P. McKinstry, who took the Minnesota exhibit and won the dairy division at the 1886 World’s Fair.

The company also sells a 32.4 Mile Corn Vodka, and will soon add gin, aquavit and other spirits. Cocktails, including the AzrOld Fashioned, A. Pickle McKinstry and Azro Sour, are also available during their regular business hours, Thursday through Saturday.

Redhead Creamery joins the ranks of a handful of other distillers in the country and dozen or so in the world in making whey-based spirits, but said it is the only one filtering, fermenting and distilling all under one roof.
Whey-based alcohol drinks date back thousands of years, with modern technology making small and large scale whey-based alcohol available today.

Most Midwest cheese plants dry their whey into useable proteins and sugars. But the Redhead Creamery partners believe that the use for human grade alcohol might be the most fun way to reuse and recycle.

At Redhead Creamery, it’s an evolution of what co-owners Jerry and Linda Jennissen, Alise’s parents, began in 1983.

Hoping to build a farm they could share with family, friends, and strangers, the family now milks 200 cows, from beginning of 30 cows in a tie-stall barn to now robotic milkers, electronic activity monitors, robotic manure collectors and a robotic feed re-sorter, the barn continues to evolve with the times and technology.

“We’re so excited to unveil this next phase of our farm,” said Jerry Jennissen, VP of Talking to Strangers at Redhead Creamery and Head Farmer at Jer-Lindy Farms. “It’s really allowing us to come full circle.”.


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