Made in the Northwest: Up North Distillery

Up North Distillery in Post Falls is known for hits barrel finished honey spirits.

POST FALLS, Idaho – Up North Distillery and Cocktail Bar opened in Post Falls in 2015. But it was only just before the COVID-19 pandemic that owner and distiller Randy Mann quit his job as a utility lineman to pursue his passion of making liquor.

“This is a lot easier on my body,” laughed Mann. “So yeah, I really wanted to make it a viable career alternative.”

Mann said he used the time the distillery was closed down due to COVID to his advantage.

“All I did was make liquor and build inventory.”

Up North made a name for itself with its barrel finished honey spirits. It’s one of the only distilleries in the country that makes them.

“Six or seven of us. So not very many at all,” said Mann.

And Mann loves making honey spirits because there are no rules for making them like distillers have with whiskey, bourbon or brandy.

“This is 100% honey product, but I can do whatever I want with it,” explained Mann. “I can put it in a used barrel, I can put it in a new barrel, I can age it as long as i want, not at all.”

Up North prides itself on being a “farm to flask” distillery. It has a bee hive on site, but most of its honey comes from an apiary in Southeast Idaho. Its grains are also sourced from the Northwest.

“I can’t always buy everything from Idaho,” said Mann. “But I at least try to stay within the Northwest.”

And despite being relatively new to the liquor making game, Up North has already won dozens of awards for its honey spirits, apple brandy and more.

“It’s quite affirming. It makes you feel like, ‘Well, I don’t really need to change what I’m doing,'” said Mann.

In late 2019, Mann and his wife, Hilary, opened Bee’s Knees Whiskey Bar in Hayden, which features a variety of cocktails using liquor from Up North.

“Bee’s Knees was exactly what the north end of Hayden needed. It’s kind of a pre-prohibition style bar,” said Mann.

Up North has already outgrown its current space, but wants to keep growing in the same spot in Post Falls.

“The next plan for this building would be to just push this wall about 25 feet that direction,” said Mann as he pointed east.

And he hopes Up North’s future will be as sweet and smooth as its spirits.