On Friday the St. Paul Hotel and Woodford Reserve are teaming up to host the Manhattan Exchange — a cocktail competition in which local bartenders create original concoctions of the classic Manhattan (using Woodford Reserve bourbon, of course) before a panel of judges. The winning cocktailer moves on to a regional round, with a shot at the finals in New York City. Advance tickets ($75) are required and guests will be able to sample the dueling Manhattans and nosh on heavy hors d’oeuvres.
7-9:30 p.m., Fri. • $75 • St. Paul Hotel, 350 Market St., St. Paul • 651-292-9292 • www.saintpaulhotel.com
Brewery expansion news continues to flow from Twin Cities’ beermakers. Excelsior Brewing Co. has announced plans to occupy another 3,300 square feet in its current building, installing a bottling line and seven 40-barrel fermenters. The expansion looks to be complete next May and will bump the Lake Minnetonka brewery’s production capacity from 2,000 barrels to 8,500 annually.
421 3rd St., Excelsior • 952-474-7837 • www.excelsiorbrew.com
Last week Far North Spirits, a new craft distillery based in Hallock, Minn., began production on its “field-to-glass” Solveig gin. Husband-wife owners Michael Swanson and Cheri Reese built the distillery on the Swanson family farm where the rye used in the gin was grown. Solveig gin is expected to be available in Minnesota and North Dakota before Christmas, and plans call for a spiced rum and rye whiskey farther down the road. Far North is part of an upcoming wave of craft distilleries slated to open in Minnesota.