Technically lying a little south of the legendary line of latitude that serves as its namesake, 45th Parallel Distillery works its craft in New Richmond, near where Highways 64 and 65 meet up in St. Croix County.
45th Parallel opened in 2007. When it opened, it was one of the first 50 craft distillers in the U.S.; over 1,600 populate the country now! So basically, 45th Parallel was early in the resurgence of craft distilling and their facility in New Richmond hints at the volume of spirits they are producing nowadays. One of their slogans is “We Don’t Do Anything Fast” – although their service when we visited was pretty prompt. The process of distilling, however, is intentionally slow and relaxed.
45th Parallel sources their grains from local farms – the nearby Rusmar Farm in particular – to mill, mash, ferment, and distill in their on-site facilities (which are huge for a craft distillery) and then send the spent grains to farms to feed the grain to their livestock… which results in fertilizer for next year’s grains. One of the circles of life, if you will.
- Border Bourbon, a small batch whiskey aged four years in Ozark White Oak barrels with no blending
- New Richmond Rye, a rye whiskey named for its hometown, also aged in Ozark White Oak barrels with no blending
- W Straight Wheat Whiskey, distilled from Wisconsin-grown wheat with both distilling and aging on-site
- 45th Parallel Vodka, slow crafted with a 100% corn base with no additives
- Midwest Vodka, distilled from neutral grain spirits in their own handcrafted copper still, carbon-filtered
- Midwest Gin, infused with botanicals including juniper berries, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, angelica root, and citrus
Liqueurs are also crafted at 45th Parallel bearing the brand name of their address, 1570 Madison Avenue. They include:
- 1570 Madison Ave Limoncello, crafted in the style of an Italian digestif using hand-zested lemons
- 1570 Madison Ave Orangecello, similarly crafted but using oranges (obviously)
In a salute to the Scandinavian heritage of the area, 45th Parallel also produces Aquavit spirits. Aquavit are spirits distilled from grain or potatoes, like gin or vodka, but often features caraway as the dominant spice. Dill, fennel, coriander, anise, and citrus often add to the complexity. They make two:
- Gamle Ode Dill Aquavit, infused with fresh dill from local growers along with caraway and juniper berries. Worth trying in a Bloody Mary!
- Gamle Ode Holiday Aquavit, which adds to the Gamle Ode Dill with orange peel, mint, and allspice, then finished in wine barrels. This one is usually only available during the holiday season.
Our samples at 45th Parallel included the Wisconsin Wheat, Border Bourbon, and Richmond Rye. Along with samples of the straight-up spirits, you can enjoy a bevy of cocktails options their mixologists will whip up for you.
45th Parallel offers some good eats with your beverages, including wood-fired pizzas – the kitchen is right there – and we also loved the seasoned wood-fired Brussels sprouts.
You’ll find the 45th Parallel Distillery in a light industrial park a little south of downtown New Richmond, a few blocks west of Highway 65 and about two miles south of Highway 64. They offer scheduled tours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays but you must book online to schedule yours.
They also plan to open another tasting room across the river in Stillwater, Minnesota, just down the road via Highway 64.
45th Parallel Distillery Address:
1570 Madison Avenue
New Richmond, WI 54017