It all started on a road trip.
While driving to Nashville, Steve Merila, the founder of White Bear Lake’s Big Wood Brewery, shared with his wife, Kjersten Merila, an idea for a “distillery brand with a great cause behind it…inspiring and supporting women to get into the world of being their own boss,” according to a blog post. She supported the idea and upon returning from the trip the couple applied for the trademark for Her Spirit.
Kjersten, though, wasn’t sure if she wanted to leave her full-time corporate job to become an entrepreneur. “After days of Her Spirit running laps in my brain, something changed,” she wrote in a blog post on the company’s website. “I wanted to be a part of this. I wanted to help other women see that if they had a vision and passion to do something of their own, they could […] My husband is a dreamer and I am a no non-sense get it done girl. I knew I could take this ball that he had thrown up the air [sic] and bring it to life.”
Today, they announced the founding of Her Spirit with Kjersten as the sole owner.
The distillery will have a lineup of vodka, gin, and whiskey, with the vodka launching in spring of 2017. Her Vodka is made from corn sourced in the U.S., and is distilled six times.
“Women create their own businesses and find success every day, but so many more would chase their dream if they just had a little extra encouragement!” Kjersten said in a press release. “Her Spirit exists to inspire women to reach for their entrepreneurial goals.” The distillery plans to invest half of its annual profits into women startup businesses “to help give these women the encouragement and inspiration they may need to fulfill their dream.”
The distillery will be taking applications in January 2017 for their “Give Back” program, which for the first year will be funded by a $5,000 investment from the husband and wife before the distillery begins turning a profit. Kjersten says, “The achievement of starting and working on Her Spirit is incredible, but is outweighed by the rewarding feeling of contributing.”