When Tattersall opened in northeast Minneapolis in July of 2015, there wasn’t much else in town quite like it.
Their concept in the 1902-era Thorp Building married craft cocktails with table service and high-volume production. “Our goal was to create a destination bar and distillery and create some really solid products that we believed in,” says Dan Oskey, acclaimed local bartender and one of Tattersall’s three co-founders. “That first year was tumultuous. There really was not a template to play off of.”
Apparently, Oskey and his co-founders—childhood friend-turned investment banker Jon Kreidler and Kreidler’s wife Michelle—figured it out. Tattersall’s spirits portfolio now includes 23 varieties that use only real ingredients like botanicals or fruits. Flavor, aroma, and sensation are all paramount in Tattersall’s creation process. And to help customers understand what’s on the menu (because “it’s not in the Minnesotan nature to ask questions,” Oskey says), they launched a free iPhone app last year that explains what’s in each product and provides over 400 recipes.
They’ll toast to these successes during their third birthday bash this week—a five-day celebration that kicks off Wednesday with spiked slushies and music, and culminates in a birthday blowout with ice cream cocktails, Wyn 65 food truck fare, and an all-day outdoor music featuring headliner Solid Gold. ("This lineup looks better than Eaux Claires so far," remarked one Facebook commenter.)
Since the distillery’s inception, the production space has experienced quite the growth spurt. Two expansions took that space from 7,000 square feet to 26,000. (The cocktail room has remained unchanged at an additional 2,000 square feet.) A new cocktail room at the MSP airport is slated to open next year. The design will mirror their current cocktail room’s combo of cement, steel, and glass in addition to a horseshoe bar and antique chandelier.
“I was never worried that it wouldn’t work,” Oskey says of Tattersall. “I didn’t think it would grow this fast.”
The staff has also more than quadrupled, from nine to 40 employees. “Every day is very rich, and everybody here works really, really hard.”
The latest additions to Tattersall’s line are straight rye whiskey and barreled rum. The former was made with rye from a farm in Cambridge and aged for two years; it’s 100 proof and spicy. The latter is 100-proof blackstrap rum that has soft, coffee, caramel-y notes. Of the 12 barrels made, eight were sold to places like Spoon and Stable and South Lyndale Liquors; the remaining four are available at Tattersall’s cocktail room.
If anything has surprised Oskey over the past three years, it’s that his primary role is now in sales. “In a way, they don’t really need me,” he says. “They kind of know the way I like things. I know the way they like things. I’ve been working with a lot of the folks here for a long time and we know how to work together really well.” He does still mix the occasional cocktail at events.
Tattersall will continue its mission to “open people’s minds and palates,” Oskey says. “We try to be approachable. People might come in here and not know what Aquavit is. They might not know what a celery shrub is. We try to make everything accessible and approachable so that if people want to learn about it, they can. We’ve tried to be transparent since day one.”