Du Nord Craft Spirits Riot Recovery Fund

by Daniel Galyean

In the early morning hours of Friday May 29th 2020, several fires were set at Du Nord Craft Spirits during the Minneapolis protests.

Explaining the result of the damage, owner Chris Montana wrote on the distillery’s Facebook page on May 29:

“The fires triggered our fire suppression system which dumped over 26,000 gallons of water inside our facility over 4-4.5 hours. The sprinklers did their job and kept the fire from destroying the building, but the damage is substantial. The cocktail room was spared as was the original production facility; both were marked as black-owned. Du Nord is in the heart of south Minneapolis and on the same block as the police station that has become the epicenter of frustration rising from repeated instances of police brutality—most recently against George Floyd. I knew this was coming, but it still hurts. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has sent their love. We need time to clean up and find a way forward, and we will communicate as best we can.”

In response to the destruction, Owners Chris and Shanelle Montana have organized a fundraiser with the goal of raising $100,000 to support black and brown companies affected by the riots.

“It’s time to get to work. The events sparked by the murder of George Floyd have been beautiful and tragic. The reality is this: our city is devastated and many of the businesses owned by persons of colour were destroyed or damaged in the process.

At Du Nord, we have historically gone about our business quietly, but this is not a time to be shy about the situation we and so many others face every day. Systemic racism is the ether within which we all live.

The effects of that system are written on gravestones around our state and nation, but most of us will experience it in forms well short of a knee on our necks or bullets in our bodies. The most effective enduring barriers to true equality have been the restriction of access to electoral and economic power. Du Nord has always encouraged voting and electoral engagement but [has been] less vocal about economic development within marginalised communities.

We are establishing this fund to focus on the rebuild of black and brown businesses around the Twin Cities affected by the riots. Again, this money is not for us, but to ensure that businesses most in need are able to reopen and grow. We have been inundated with offers to help strengthen our business. We are not strong unless our community is strong, so please join us in supporting the Du Nord Riot Recovery Fund.”

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