We are an artisan distillery. We enjoy working with our hands, and our still, to make great things.
We are nerds, we ask lots of questions, we love to explore and to experiment, and we think those are great traits in all humans.
We love finding the best herbs, fruits, spices, grains and other raw materials, and also learning about, experimenting with and perfecting recipes for distilled spirits and cocktails.
We’ve won a lot of acclaim and awards for our spirits, and we intend to continue doing so.
We start with the best ingredients we can find, and turn them into delicious distilled spirits and cocktails.
We enjoy sharing our spirits with people, both in cocktails and on their own. We design each product we make to be delicious, original and versatile.
We have a lot of fun and we love to share our passion with others. We are in the happiness business, after all.
Derek & Sonja Kassebaum started North Shore Distillery in 2004, selling their first bottles in 2005. They’d already shown their impulsive streak by eloping in Las Vegas after dating for only 2-1/2 months some years back, and it was time for a new adventure. They wanted something more from life – something they could be passionate about and look forward to working on most days. Something they could do together.
Always the more entrepreneurial of the two, Derek had the initial inspiration to start a distillery. Once the idea grabbed him, he got to work and designed the process, initial equipment setup, and space. He researched distilling equipment, processes, history and techniques extensively, and met with many advisors along the way. His experience and education as a chemical engineer certainly helped, too.
Sonja is an attorney by training, which also comes in handy – distilling is a heavily regulated industry, with many “compliance opportunities,” as she calls them. She is also the resident cocktail geek and loves to play with new spirits, ingredients, tools and techniques behind the bar.
Their shared love of great cocktails and spirits continues to this day, and they’ve added a few fellow cocktail and spirit lovers to their team along the way. They’re not looking back!
All the spirits made here spend time with our beautiful, handmade still, who we affectionately call Ethel. She is named for Sonja’s grandmother (and also for the wonderful ethyl alcohol she makes), and was handmade and custom made for us in southern Germany. Derek worked with the still manufacturer to design her, and she has several custom elements that make her unique. Ethel is truly one-of-a-kind.
Ethel’s capacity is 250 liters, or the equivalent of about 60 gallons. She is one of the smaller stills in commercial production today – but she is versatile and skilled, and Derek and she know how to make boozy magic together. She loves making spirits, it is what she was born to do!
You can connect with Ethel directly if you want. Fair warning – she’s a little sassy when she gets the computer!