By: Rick Pedersen –
The rise of small-batch distilleries has pumped new life into the small towns they have set up their operations in. Such is the case of Harmony Spirits located in Harmony, MN, where they have sourced local grains that are artfully distilled with care by Larry, Andy, and Jim. Together they produce an incredibly smooth spirit that is very well balanced. Having local support has blessed and allowed them to bring this project to your table offering products that come full circle, from grain to glass. The grain used to create these spirits travels a few short miles from Andy’s farm, and the spent distilling grains return to the same farm as cattle feed. This process completes the circle, and puts harmony in your glass for you to enjoy.
A fun day can be had visiting the many distilleries that are popping up throughout the driftless area, and one no longer needs to travel to Kentucky to find high spirits. Our recent visit to Harmony Spirits was no exception. After years of planning, building, and distilling, you can finally stop at Harmony Spirits hospitality room for tastings as well as purchase products. Several team members entered this project with distilling knowledge gained from working at a nearby ethanol plant. I also learned that each of the four driftless states has different laws regarding both craft beer and distillery business rules. Still, I will summarize to say breweries seem to be getting favoritism, or more politely, less restricted than the competing brothers brewing beer. Currently available are bourbon whiskey, vodka, whiskey, and bourbon barrel rum and gin presently in development stages, with all products being very smooth and pleasant to taste.
The charming hospitality lounge allows for eating and purchasing drinks and also serves to host events that can be found listed on social media more than their business website. Many rural towns find their local economies tied to seasonal activities, whether it be trout fishing, bicycling, or snowmobiling, so the addition of a small batch distillery in these towns is a feather in their hat to attract more visitors.
I recommend you plan a visit to Harmony Spirits and enjoy some tastings of their extremely smooth and 100% handcrafted spirits while relaxing in their beautiful indoor tasting room. They offer outside seating and the ability to order food from one of the local restaurants. Whether you drive or bike, you will find plenty of parking space.
As the end of our tour and tasting got closer, my wife and I mentioned we were hungry, and the unanimous referral for eating was Nells Bar and Eatery located just down the street. Our reference also included the statement that everything we could possibly order would be great, and that statement was correct. The place was busy, but we were seated quickly, and the waitress brought us water and took our drink order. Before our food arrived, we were able to meet the owner Matt Brown, and he discussed his passion for cooking and the fact that this is a scratch kitchen with a menu that rotates according to the seasons. They also have a full bar with a great selection of craft beers on tap. The staff was very polite, our food arrived quickly, and just as promised, everything was great. I have nothing but good things to say about eating there, and it will be on the top of my list the next time we pass through the same area. The Pork Nuggets as an appetizer seems to be quite the favorite with locals, and as for me, the Frenchie French Burger with caramelized onions and gouda cheese was amazing. They are closed on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, so check social media or their website for hours. The remaining days, they open for lunch and dinner, and their menu is also posted online.
Harmony is a great small town, and it’s nice to see businesses working together to promote each other and their own cities because, in the end, we all succeed. We help each other for the greater good rather than worry only about ourselves.