Brock Berglund and Anna Wilson
How do you distill the purest spirit? Husband-and-wife team Brock Berglund and Anna Wilson aim to find out from their 77-acre property in Alexandria, where they make vodka, gin, aquavit and amaro. An attorney and a marketing professional respectively, they launched Ida Graves after his home-brewing hobby led him to ask: Are all these booze brands actually craft-focused and sustainably sourced? “I wanted to start a business where I could have a hand in making the product and ensuring it lined up with our values,” he says.
“The distilling felt like a passion and a really unique opportunity to bring in flavor in a way we weren’t experiencing in other products on the market,” Wilson adds. A business plan, the pandemic, the addition of some kids and a relocation to Alexandria to remodel the pole barn — which now houses the distillery and a tasting room — quickly followed.
The land provides both inspiration and ingredients. For instance, honey collected from the 45 onsite hives, combined with more of the sweet stuff from a local beekeeper, provides the base for Ida Graves vodka. Berglund says the flavor profiles change with the weather and the plants that the bees pollinate. The duo also forages for ingredients. “I really enjoy working with the seasons — what’s blooming and what’s coming up,” he notes. “It changes every year with different rainfalls and if winter comes early or late. It’s fun to work with those constraints and get creative.”
To date, Berglund has crafted an impressive 10,000+ bottles with his own hand. Looking ahead to 2024, the pair plans to add a cocktail room. But, they emphasize, simplicity and sustainability will remain top priorities as they grow. “The flavor profile and ingredients honor the Minnesota landscape,” Wilson shares. “Every step of this process is done with an incredible amount of attention and intention.”