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Steel Toe Owners to Start Distilling Vodka, Whiskey

The St. Louis Park brewery's founders are expanding into spirits.

Jason Schoneman poses next to Steel Toe's beer brewing equipment.
Jason Schoneman poses next to Steel Toe's beer brewing equipment.
The founders of Steel Toe Brewing will soon start distilling whiskey and vodka in their St. Louis Park building.

The brewery's owners told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal that they wanted to start a distillery at the time of their launch in 2011, but the state hadn't yet reduced the licensing fee from $30,000 per year to $1,100.

"If you want to stay small, which we do, having $30,000 going out the door every year is a pretty big impediment," said Ron Olney, who founded Steel Toe with Jason Schoneman and Joe Muggli.

The distillery will be separated from Steel Toe's beer brewing equipment by a chain-link fence to comply with state liquor laws.

The Steel Toe trio has already received federal and state licenses and is waiting for a city inspection before starting its still, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reported.

The owners expect the vodka to be ready before the whiskey and both spirits to be on liquor store shelves by the end of February. 

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