From the initial planning stages, Proof Artisan Distillers was a multi-year endeavor to get up and running. One of the other interesting hurdles they had to navigate was an issue with the name of their Malt Whiskey, currently offered in limited release. The distillers wanted to name the whiskey “Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey.” The reasoning behind this? Glen refers to a glacier-formed valley—which is where Fargo is located. After filing for a trademark, Kath and crew were contacted by the Scotch Whiskey Association (SWA). The SWA worried the branding could cause possible consumer confusion. Likewise, Kath wanted to avoid being confused or considered as a Scotch product. “That is why we explained to the SWA that our trademark is ‘Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey’ all five words. We are proudly Fargo located in what is arguably one of the largest glacially formed valleys in the world. Proudly American Malt Whiskey from North Dakota with its rich agricultural history rooted in barley.” Eventually open communication and transparency won the day, and “Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey” survived. While it’s more labor intensive than bourbon, Kath loves that single malt whiskey is a new and exciting trend. “We’re double-barreling it. I can’t wait until it evolves over 4-6 years. I love seeing the transformation. It’s like watching a child grow up. Watching this white dog that is not palatable and seeing this change to full maturity.” Being part of a small tight-knit community in North Dakota, Kath is working to form a guild and to keep momentum going for the distilleries in their state. Proof Artisan Distillers and Maple River Distillery may be the only active distilleries there at the moment, but they know that will change. Creating a group now helps them be represented as a whole and puts them in control of the narrative on where distilling can go in North Dakota. “I had envisioned that this venture was going to be a huge undertaking. Even so…. I underestimated,” says Kath of making spirits and putting together a guild. “And I’ve been in engineering for a very long time. From the business side, a distillery it’s much more complex and multifaceted.” Overall, Kath knows, “It speaks volumes when the easiest part of the distillery is the distilling.”
Proof Artisan Distillers is located in Fargo, North Dakota. Call (701) 353-5853 or visit www.proofdistillers.com for more info.
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