The Spirit of a Sustainable Island

The Spirit of a Sustainable Island

You don’t need to overthink sustainability.

Once you get your head around it, it’s a simple concept, right? Any well-meaning individual who had even a shred of morality would tip over the fence when thinking about the sustainability of the earth.

Little do you know, sustainability is complicated. However, there are people out there toiling away at the complicated formulas and nightmarish logistics so that by the time you get the product, it’s deceivingly simple.

You’d be forgiven, then, for dropping your jaw in surprise and shock when you see Washington Island. It’s not exactly a hive of activity – and certainly not somewhere you think would be the source for world-renowned spirits.

In fact, amongst the singular school and singular bank – heck, let’s throw a medical center in there as well – there’s one primary purpose for the land. And that purpose is potatoes.

Washington Island is historically known for its potato farming. However, it didn’t take long for capitalism to wipe out this small conglomerate in the search for a cheaper source. Potato farming on the island was dead.

You could see this as a devastating loss, or you could consider it a rare opportunity. A small group of people, including brothers Ken and Tom Koyen, saw it as the latter. In 2005 they revived the trodden soil and began to cultivate wheat.

Where is all this going, you may ask? What has it got to do with delicious tasting spirits?

Here’s the connection. Death’s Door Spirits and Capital Brewery also saw an all too tempting opportunity on Washington Island. They now had a way to source their vital ingredients while keeping a small, self-sustaining community alive.

The wheat that was mentioned before is so much more than that now. It’s morphed into a specialty grain that’s selected exclusively for Death’s Door Spirit products.

Now, how many acres does it take to make ingredients like this? You’d think a hell of a lot. This symbiotic relationship leaves both sides with a win. Not only do the spirits from Death’s Door taste like Christmas, but the farmers on Washington Island have expanded their cultivation to a whopping 1200 acres.

What better way to sustain organic growth than drink alcohol? Personally, we can’t think of a better cause to support.

Now that we’ve brushed shoulders with the farmers behind it all let’s trek back to Middleton, Wisconsin, where the drinks are. It’s here that you’ll find Death’s Door state-of-the-art distillery – and they’re not shy about being the largest distillery in the region.

Like any business that started out small and saw exponential growth, Death’s Door have to answer the question: how do they maintain the quality of their products at the level of demand they now have? For them, this is the easy part – they’ve done the hard yards.

Death’s Door Whimsical Wondermint

You’ll get a bit of whiskey, some vodka, and even gin from Death’s Door distillery. They’re great, don’t get us wrong – but there’s something else you have to try, unique to this company.

In fact, it’s so unique that you won’t find it anywhere else in the world. Original Wisconsin Wondermint Liqueur is the original and only craft peppermint schnapps in the world.

We were metaphorical with our Christmas comparison earlier. However, you’ll find that Wondermint does actually taste like your favorite holiday season.

Ready to soak in the ingredients of this rare find? You’ve got absinthe and peppermint – we knew that. Then you’ve got a slightly bitter almond flavor mixed in with rosewater. This sweet, minty and herbaceous liqueur is all you’ll want for Christmas – guaranteed.

We were going to share our thoughts on the rest of Death’s Doors’ products. Then we had an idea: you should just try it for yourself.

Sustainable with delicious, yet complex flavors, it’s no wonder that Death’s Door Spirits and Capital Brewery have garnered themselves a fierce reputation. Check them out for yourselves and see what all the fuss is about.


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