At Frost River, we love to make things.
Since we craft Reliable Softgoods from premium raw materials, it’s something we get to do every day. It’s a rewarding process to start from scratch, cut the fabric, the leather, sew it together, drive rivets. It’s a very human endeavor, to build, construct, make and improve. But we like to build gear because we like to use gear — we appreciate quality and knowing what went into making something that we use and enjoy. That’s part of what makes a tour so cool; you get to see where the stuff was made, hear the stories about the process, watch it happen and sample the finished product. It’s a rare opportunity these days to see goods being made.
That’s part of the reason we love the brewery and winery tours. You get the chance to smell the hops, the grapes, the grains, see and feel the barrels, the fermentation tanks, tools and ingredients, all while learning about every stage of the process that turns those simple ingredients into something great. The best part of these tours, is that at the end, you usually get to try the finished product. Doesn’t it taste better knowing how it got there?
At Frost River, we make a wide assortment of waxed canvas and leather goods that pair perfectly with craft brews and wines. Our growler packs support the craft brewing industry by encouraging growler fills at local breweries. That’s sustainable both in helping promote the use of reusable bottles and reusing Growler Packs. Not a beer fan? Our bottle totes provide a beautiful way to haul one or two bottles of wine or spirits no matter where you’re headed. They keep it classy, while keeping gift bags out of the dumpster, plus the cushy lining protects the bottles and maintains the temperature. Once you’re at your destination, glasses go on our bridle leather coasters, or you can put the growler on our leather trivet, and cans stay cold and hands stay warm in our can insulators. You can even display your bottles with our wine bottle bandoleer.
There aren’t too many wineries up in our neck of the woods, but we do have a wealth of breweries and premium drink crafters. Here are some of our top picks for brewery and distillery tours in the Duluth area and across the bay into Wisconsin.
Naturally, one of our personal favorites would have to be our neighbors across the street at Bent Paddle Brewing Co. Their beers are consistently excellent and they’re constantly coming out with new rotating taps and casks that feature new and interesting infusions, hop blends and malty goodness. Their trail-ready cans are available off the shelf, and their taps are just a few rods of portaging out our back door. By signing up here, you can take a tour through their brewery on Saturdays and Sundays, where you’ll learn about how they’ve been “Bending Tradition® in Duluth, Minnesota, since 2013”.
Just a short drive away, with an amazing view of Lake Superior and the Duluth Lake Walk, you can find our friends at Canal Park Brewing Co. In addition to their delicious array of foods, wide range of brews, quintessential vistas and patio dining with fireplace, you can take a tour of their brewery facility on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. More info can be found here.
Also near the Duluth Lift Bridge is Vikre Distillery. Inspired by their Norwegian ancestor’s discovery of the ethereal beauty of the northwoods and Lake Superior, Vikre distills premium spirits like gins and aquavits that thoughtfully blend tradition and innovation to make pure, creative spirits that are infused with northwoods, Lake Superior and Minnesota ingredients and experience. Free daily tours available at 5:30pm. More info can be found here.
A quick drive over the harbor and St. Louis River into Wisconsin will take you to Thirsty Pagan Brewing Co. They’ve been cooking pizza and crafting beers for a decade, and will be celebrating their 10 year anniversary on 5/4/2016. Tours of their brewing facility are available on Saturdays at 2pm. More info is available here.
Drive the other direction, up Highway 61 along the North Shore of Lake Superior, and you’ll find Castle Danger Brewery in Two Harbors. They’ve been brewing dangerously good ales on the North Shore since 2011 and recently added a canning line so you can find their beer throughout the state. Brewery tours of Castle Danger Brewery are held on Saturdays at 5pm and cost $3. You can book a tour here.
Want “The Ultimate Craft Beer Experience?” Take a look at the comprehensive brewery tours offered by the folks at The Duluth Experience. They offer tours every Thursday, Friday and Saturday that run a total of 4.5 hours and visit several craft breweries in the area. Their all-inclusive brewery tours “provide transportation, education, behind-the-scenes access to the breweries, craft beer samples, a souvenir sample glass and a fabulous meal.” The crew also offers guided bike rides, Lake Superior kayak trips, and Duluth history tours.
Interested in seeing all the magic that happens at Frost River? We offer tours any time we’re open, and they’re free! Just stop by our shop at 1910 W Superior St. in Duluth, MN during our normal hours and ask one of the friendly staff. They’ll show you where all of our Reliable Softgoods are made.