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Sapthre Farms Is Turning Maple Syrup Into Whiskey

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - In Minnesota, March means maple syrup, a time to tap trees for a sweet treat.

In this week's Finding Minnesota John Lauritsen went to Sapthre Farms in Mower County where syrup isn't just for pancakes and waffles.

"This is our maple tree property that we have. It's about 21 acres," said Kevin Sathre.

Among the 21 acres, you'll find eight miles worth of pipes crisscrossing through the woods in full harvest mode.

The sap that's vacuumed out is taken to Kevin Sathre's farm near the town of Adams, just a stone's throw from the Iowa border.

Here, the name itself changes from Sathre to Sapthre Maple Products.

"It takes 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup," said Sathre, "We put it on coffee, on our waffles, pancakes, cornbread. We even put it on our milk and cottage cheese."

Finding Minnesota Sapthre Farms Maple Syrup
(credit: CBS)

But Kevin learned that you can make a lot more than syrup when you're hauling in 30,000 gallons of sap.

Early on in the pandemic, they made hand sanitizer and donated it, though the farm is best known for another invention.

"We take the syrup and we make whiskey out of it," said Sathre.

The organic whiskey is cleverly named Miskey and is made with the help of Nikoli Yudin.

"There are a lot of tools we use that I never thought we'd be using," said Nikoli.

Using new technology and an age-old product, Nikoli combines maple syrup, yeast, water, and other nutrients in a mix tank. After a week they'll check the sugar content, then it's ready to still.

"Our product needs to sit for at least 30 days. The stuff we've been selling is usually aged for about a year," said Nikoli.

The Miskey is bottled in two ways, one is straight out of the barrel while the other has an extra dose of maple syrup.

"I call it a bourbon-rum. It's that smooth," said Kevin.

From syrup, to sanitizer, to spirits, there's no telling what this farm will come up with next.

"We're farmers and one of the oldest commodities out there is syrup," said Kevin. "A walk in the woods became a spring harvest."

The Sathre's are planning to open a larger distillery in downtown Adams and so far, their Miskey is sold in various liquor stores across Southern Minnesota.

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