Local stakeholders and supporters Friday joined development partners to celebrate the launch of The Cantilever Hotel and Distillery – a 31-room boutique hotel, cocktail room and distillery.
Developer Marty Goulet kicked off the ceremony by talking about the positive momentum in Ranier and the motives for the development in the community.
“There is a reason we are having this event at Loony’s Brew Pub and Rainy Lake Grill is catering the event, they are both part of the positive story that is unfolding and the momentum that allowed our development team to make this investment in the community,” said Goulet. "The approximate 100-invited guests in attendance received an inside look into the project, an introduction to the first two Cantilever employees, the release of two new brands, followed by a non-traditional ground-breaking ceremonial christening of the site. If you are here today, it is because you have helped or supported and are a part of the Cantilever Hotel and Distillery project.”
The Cantilever Hotel and Distillery, anticipated to open summer 2019, is a new 26,000 square foot boutique hotel and distillery located at 2078 Spruce Street in Ranier. The facility amenities include 31 upscale boutique hotel rooms, state of the art spirits manufacturing plant, cocktail room (only serving Cantilever products), restaurant, private events spaces, rooftop bar with sauna and hot tub, distillery tours, yoga studio, treatment rooms, and electric car charging station.
"A physical location, complete with a tour and tasting, is the biggest marketing asset a distilling company will ever possess," said Goulet. "As such, our distillery will be an extension of the brand. This requires that every element the consumer contacts will reflect the thinking and philosophy of the brand.”
The Cantilever Distilling Co., will offer single malt whiskey, bourbon, and gin made with local peat, local grains, and local water that showcase the skill and expertise of the distiller. The Cantilever Bridge located only feet away from the distillery is symbolic of the bootlegging history and connection between Canada and the U.S.
Released publicly for the first time Friday, Woody’s Fairly Reliable Spirits Co., will produce honest, reliable spirits and premium canned cocktails that are focused on lake life and the outdoor lifestyle. These products will be known for premium quality with affordable pricing so that that they can over-deliver on taste and price while always considering lake lifestyle.
“We are excited to announce for the first time with the personality of Ranier's own Barry "Woody" Woods – Woody’s Fairly Reliable Spirits," said Goulet.
General Manager Ed Gackley announced a partnership with Wyndham Hotels’ Trademark Collection Brand.
“The Cantilever Bridge Hotel – a trademark collection allows us to leverage the benefits of being associated with a world class hotel franchise while keeping total independence," said Gackley. He also introduced distiller Charlie Fuller who expressed his excitement for the project.
Developer Duane Cridland revealed the first artwork for the distillery called “Busted 1932” by Cher Pruys. In 1932, a train crossing the Cantilever Bridge with 79 barrels of Canadian whiskey was seized and destroyed in a public ceremony before it could reach its destination in Chicago. The artwork depicts the event and the locals who showed up to get a taste but were prohibited to use any cups or containers and resorted to slurping it off the ice.
Participants later Friday went outside to the site of the new hotel and distillery. Mayor Dennis Wagner, Hall of Fame Fishing Guide Woody and the Director of the Koochiching County Economic Development Agency Paul Nevanen, each took a swing with the ceremonial golden ax and attempted to break a barrel of whiskey. After a few attempts with the ax, the liquid from the barrel was released and the site christened.
Back inside Loony’s, developer Pat Bracken walked the attendees through an inside look at Cantilever’s first bourbon, explaining the mash bill (recipe) and finishing with a toast.
Mark Twain once said, “too much of anything is bad, but too much whiskey is barely enough."
Learn more about the Cantilever Story!
top 10 icebox days events - international falls, mn
A typical January day in International Falls, MN ordinarily goes a little something like this: Upon waking, we see that the current temperature outside reads 32 degrees below zero and we smile, realizing this is four degrees warmer than the previous morning. We continue with our daily morning routines, ensuring we leave at least 20-30 minutes for our vehicles to warm up and 5-10 minutes to scrape the frost, ice, and snow from the windows. Despite the cold weather, our trek through town on our way to work is nothing short of magical. With glistening snow softly falling and the smell of wood burning stoves and coffee roasting in the air, the true beauty of this area emerges like a scene from a fairytale. Of course it may hold true that not everything was built to withstand the effects of extreme subzero temperatures...but here in International Falls, we’re getting pretty good at it.
2. Moonlight Snowshoe Hike
A moonlight snowshoe hike in Voyageurs National Park will be sure to enlighten you of the true beauty this area has to offer. Throw on a few extra layers and meet us at the Rainy Lake Visitors Center at 6:00 PM on Friday, January 19th to take part in a hike guided by local park rangers. Afterwards, cozy up around a campfire with a cup of hot cocoa!
3. Frozen Turkey Bowling
We warned you that we do things a little differently around here. You likely have tried your hand at traditional bowling, but have you tried swapping out the ball with Thanksgiving’s main entree? Join us outside of the Backus Community Center at 1:00 PM on Saturday, January 20th to put your skills to the test.
4. Canoe Races
If you’re looking for another unique event, gather at Loony’s Brew from 1:00 to 3:00 PM for the newly introduced and positively hilarious canoe races! The lake may be frozen, but that doesn’t stop us from boat races! Teams of 2-3 battle against each other amongst snow and ice to see who can avoid tipping the canoe and crossing the finish line.
5. Boot Hockey Tournament
It’s impossible to think of winter in Minnesota without hockey coming to mind. Here in International Falls, we’re okay with leaving the skates behind. Boot hockey is a tried and true winter favorite. Athletes of every skill level will join together at Rainer Rink on Saturday, January 20th at 10:00 AM for the Icebox Boot Hockey Tournament. Gather a team of 10 friends and an entry fee of $75 for a chance to win Chamber Dollars, bragging rights, and a newfound love for the sport.
6. Smoosh Races
If hockey’s not your sport, put your "skiing" skills to the test by participating in the smoosh races! Round up a group of 4 friends at 2:30 PM outside of Viking Bar on Saturday, January 20th to take part in this fun and memorable event where contestants will nail shoes to 2x4's and see who can cross the finish line first. Children’s smoosh races (14 years old and under) begin at 2:00 PM.
7. Freeze Your Gizzard Blizzard Run
Runners from all over the country visit International Falls every January to participate in the Freeze Your Gizzard Blizzard Run. Whatever the weather, contestants brave the cold temperatures and frosty eyelashes and beards to walk, jog, or run across the 5K or 10K finish line.
8. Toilet Seat Toss
Just in case frozen turkey bowling isn’t quite eccentric enough for you, Icebox Days also hosts a toilet seat tossing event. Like we’ve said before, this celebration is unlike any other. Try your hand at toilet seat toss by gathering outside Viking Bar on Saturday, January 20th at 1:00 PM.
9. Frostbite Falls Open
Whether it’s summer or winter, Rainy Lake is one of the most beautiful places on earth...but then again, we could be a little biased. We’ll let you be the judge by attending the Frostbite Falls Open Golf Tournament at Thunderbird Lodge on Saturday, January 20th at 1:00 PM. Gather up a four person team to participate in this nine hole ice golf course. Tennis balls will be supplied, but don't forget your putter of choice! Popular favorites for contestants include hockey sticks, golf clubs, and tennis racquets. The best part? This is a non profit event, with all proceeds going to the local food shelf.
When we said this event had something for everyone, we weren’t kidding. If you’re not the competitive type, don’t worry. While the rest of the family is participating in different games, we encourage you to browse through some of our great downtown shops. Many local businesses participate in Icebox Days by hosting great promotions during this 5-day celebration. This means there’s a chance for everyone to score big, even without participating in any games!
The Icebox Days celebration in International Falls has been broadcasted on networks such as CBS, NBC, ABC and many others. People travel from all around the country to participate in the different events, and local residents look forward to this celebration all year long. Join us for this year’s event beginning Thursday, January 18th to see for yourself what Icebox Days is all about.
Have you participated in this celebration before? Let us know in the comments below what are your favorite events!