In search of warmth, I came across a bottle of MINNESOTA14 from Panther Distillery while visiting family in the tundra with break. It gave me pause, as I have never seen a whiskey with a number in its name. Two lines beneath, the bottle revealed "AGE FOR 2 YEARS".
So, in the name of higher education and research, I purchased it. The bottle will elicit a fair bit of discussion, and it has certainly piqued my interest. That there are no spaces between MINNESOTA and 14 is not so surprising to me, nor is it that the 14 appears on the same line. In fact, the 14 appears differently, on clear glass set within the white state of Minnesota, while the printed name MINNESOTA is white. The prominent age statement reinforces one motivation for the purchase.
I've reached out to the guys at Panther to hear the story, and will share it when it comes. Up to now, it is all speculation on my part, including the name. Why 14? The distillery is not on 14th street or near Highway 14 (it is on the corner of 3rd and Pike in Osakis, MN 55360...checked). My best guess is the year, 2014. Panther describes itself as the first legal distillery in Minnesota...opening in 2011. I suspect that MINNESOTA14 celebrates their first product, aged 2 years. My guess. We'll see what the students come up with.
Another challenge featured more prominently. How do I get I the bottle back to Texas? The solution came by way of my brother, who provided vermouth, bitters and cherries. As it turns out, sips can be comfortably timed to the rate at which digital TV set-up wizards find channels in the remote reaches. The whiskey was more valuable than the setup manual. The rest of MINNESOTA14 sleeps in a once-empty Canadian Mist container waiting for snow to fall next December.