Welcome to Minnesota!

Why Minnesota Matters

A Little Missive for my Non-Resident Supplier Friends on why you should be doing business here.

Throughout the 1990s I was living in California, managing business for a winery while at the same time making wines under my own label. When I wasn’t making wine, I earned my living as a ‘road warrior’, traveling the world to promote and sell both my wines and those of wineries that I managed. It was during the course of my travels that I met Amie, the woman who would later become my wife. Amie was born and raised in Minnesota, and often remarked that I should sell my wines in her home state. My initial remark to her was, “Amie, I don’t think my wine pairs well with tater tot hot dish.” The fact that I still have all my teeth speaks to Amie’s patience with me.

In 1998 I had the good fortune to marry Amie, and an opportunity to finally visit the Minnesota wine market. That trip opened my eyes to both the beauty of the State, the kindness of its people, and the quality of its wine and spirit market. Ten years later, with two kids and a demanding business, I found myself at a crossroads. It was 2008, the economy was tanking, and I had grown weary of life on the road. I’m sure my family had, too. Looking at my options of a career outside of winemaking, I decided that Minnesota was the perfect fit for us. It had four seasons, good quality of life, amazing schools for our two boys, and it was close to family. By Spring of 2009 we left California and headed northeast. And we’ve never regretted the decision.

Over the years, many of my industry friends asked me, “Why Minnesota?” To them, Minnesota was widely seen as a ‘flyover state’, not a serious wine and spirit market. Those of us in the industry who had actually spent time in Minnesota knew different. Having lived here for nearly a decade I’ve come to know just how special my adopted state is. The growth in truly world-class dining and drinking establishments has been amazing…so much so that Minnesota has become a hot topic of conversation with the critics and industry. We’re fortunate to have an established, strong independent retail community, too. And the people here are just nicer.

For those of you still wondering, “Nice…but why Minnesota?”, let me share just a few facts with you:

  •   U.S. News’ latest “Best States” ranking lists Minnesota as #3 in terms of overall quality of life.
  •   In a recent study of “Most & Least-Educated States”, Minnesota ranked 8th in most-educated.
  •   Minnesota is home to many of America’s leading businesses. 3M, General Mills, Cargill, Target, Ecolab, Polaris, and many other well-known businesses call Minnesota home.
  •   While Minnesota ranks 23rd in overall population (with roughly 5.5 million residents), we rank 15th in gross sales of alcoholic beverages…and 10th when calculated per capita.

What does this mean? It means that, when compared to other states, Minnesota has a very well-educated and well-compensated population that really enjoys its beverages. In short, Minnesota is a market that is worthy of your distribution plans.

Interested in Minnesota? Then we should talk!