Tattersall Distilling founders Dan Oskey and Jon Kriedler are toasting the recent addition of four states to their distribution network, raising the total to 22 less than three years after launching the northeast Minneapolis distillery.
As Tattersall expands to Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee and New Jersey, the distillery is adding mashing, fermenting and distilling equipment to double its capacity to produce and age brown spirits.
Tattersall operates a popular cocktail room that features its portfolio of more than 30 all-natural spirits and liqueurs. It eventually plans to expand to other major cities and the coasts, Kriedler said.
The number of craft distilleries nationally has soared from 100 in 2005 to more than 1,800 today, Kriedler said. But that represents only 3% of the overall spirits market.
“Let’s turn that 97% into craft drinkers,” Kriedler said. “How do you do that? That’s the blue sky, and that’s what we’re going after.”
Tattersall’s mobile app, offering hundreds of cocktail recipes, is one way to make craft spirits more accessible, Oskey said. The app is new to the Android platform after its 2017 debut on iOS.
“The big guys don’t have that,” Oskey said of the app. “Anybody who wants to dip their toes in, we’re willing to show them the way. You have to get them to taste it. You have to sometimes show them how to use it.”
The app, downloaded more than 10,000 times, was a significant investment but drives consumption and impresses retailers, Kriedler said.
Childhood friends Oskey and Kriedler reconnected as adults to create Tattersall, which opened in July 2015.
Oskey’s bartending skills earned acclaim at the former Strip Club Meat & Fish.
He also was bar manager at Hola Arepa and co-founded Joia All-Natural Soda and Easy & Oskey Bitters Kits.
Kriedler, who earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, worked for investment firms for 15 years before pursuing his love of spirits to the Michigan State University Artisan Distilling Program and Tattersall.
Q: How are you financing your growth?
Kriedler: We have a small group of investors — Dan and I hold the vast majority — that we’ve reached out to and we have a great relationship with our bank in Mankato. The big issue beyond the capital for the equipment is the massive working capital investment. As we lay down barrels they sit for two to five years. It’s a huge investment until [they] hit that point where that’s flowing.
Q: Who are your customers?
Oskey: Most of our business is in the mid-tier. Our customer is somebody who wants an experience, they want flavor. They are probably somebody who likes to cook at home if they’re making drinks at home or they like to go out and be served good drink.
It’s not a demographic, it’s a psychographic — someone who is looking for a particular experience.
Q: What are this year’s priorities for Tattersall?
Kriedler: The No. 1 priority continues to be Minnesota, strengthening our base here. Do you stretch yourself thin or are you a New Glarus [Brewing] that dominates Wisconsin? That’s where we’re striving to get to.
We’ll continue to build out other markets but priority No. 1 is always going to be Minnesota. Trying to increase our presence in retail. That’s where the bigger opportunity is although there still is a massive opportunity on premise.
Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is email@example.com.