Water Bar Visits Vikre Distillery

Last Sunday, we took Water Bar on the road to Duluth for a special event at Vikre Distillery. The owners of Vikre are committed to creating spirits that reflect the unique ecology and culture of their northern Minnesota place, including the waters that sustain life in and around Lake Superior. We were so happy to join them for an evening in celebration of water, place and culture.

Water Bar codirector Shanai Matteson sat down for short conversations with local advocates, artists, utility managers, and business leaders. These individuals and their communities are all part of creating a culture that serves water, in and beyond Lake Superior. This visit was an opportunity for us to learn through their stories, and to record these conversations, so we can share them as part of a new podcast we're developing on water and culture across Minnesota.

Conversation meandered, which is how we like it!

Lyz Jaakola (Anishinaabe), a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior, spoke about the longstanding relationship between Ojibwe people and the lands and waters of the north. Howard Jacobson, who oversees drinking water for the City of Duluth talked about the history of the local water system, as well as the challenges of making this critical infrastructure visible to the public. And Sarah Erickson of Great Lakes Aquarium shared their efforts to create education experiences that connect public visitors with the natural environments beneath the surface of Lake Superior.

Joel Vikre, one of the owners of Vikre Distillery, shared their origin story, and their commitment to place and water advocacy. We love that Vikre is using the space of their cocktail room, and their conversations with customers, to grow awareness of the importance of water and protecting water to all of our lives.

Organizers John Doberstein (Duluth for Clean Water) and Allen Richardson (WaterLegacy, Honor the Earth) also spoke about protecting water in the Lake Superior region, and specifically, about the impact of new mining projects and oil pipelines. Both shared their thoughts on the importance of building deeper relationships with water across culture and geography, and what tribal communities, climate activists and others are doing now to stop these mining and pipeline projects.

To close the night, Laura Sellner of Superior Siren shared a reflection on her relationship with Lake Superior, before sharing a song.

Thank you to these new friends for joining us, and to Vikre Distillery for hosting this conversation - and for serving water every day through engagement with customers! We look forward to sharing an audio recording soon. 

We'll be serving Duluth tap water at the upcoming Minnesota State Fair Water Bar! Sign-up here to join us, or swing by the Eco Experience at the State Fair to say hello.

*Photos by Nik Nerburn and Water Bar.