New Hope will soon have its first microdistillery and cocktail lounge, started by a large close-knit family with roots in the community.
A. Davis Distillery, a name representing the seven siblings in the Davis family who all have names that begin with A, will create spirits to sell and serve in handcrafted cocktails at the Pocket Square Cocktail Lounge, set to open on April 29.
For managing owners and siblings Alan Davis, Amy Hotchkiss, and Andrea Davis, it hasn’t been an easy path to opening day. Turning a passion for craft spirits into a business required navigating regulations and seeking approvals from the federal to the city level. All while working full-time jobs. And to add another layer of complexity, they had signed the lease for their space in early March 2020, just before the statewide lockdown went into effect.
“We had such a belief in ourselves. We took our vision and dream, and pushed it forward to make it work,” Hotchkiss says.
The dream began over three years ago when Alan, the oldest sibling, proposed the idea at one of the family’s bi-monthly dinners, which usually featured a cocktail to try along with the meal. He had brewed beer and made mead for the past 20 years, and wanted to try spirits after the family had enjoyed visiting a number of craft distilleries. An influx in small community-based microdistilleries opening began after the removal of a base tax that had made it prohibitive for many to get into the business, Alan explained.
“We wanted to create this out in the community where we grew up,” Alan says, noting their mom’s home is about 12 blocks away from the microdistillery and lounge. In a bustling area with a pub and a bowling alley, the lounge will offer an alternative for those seeking cocktails in a comfortable, urbane space.
Family and friends pooled together their talents to transform the former coffee shop into a sleek lounge with marble tiled walls and a poured-concrete bar top. Inside will seat about 60 and the outdoor patio will have several tables.
Amy’s stepdaughter Jessica Hotchkiss designed the labels featuring a playful take on animals for the 375-mL bottles they will sell on site: Fetching Fox (London Dry gin), Restless Fox (new wave gin), and Dapper Wolf (vodka). Sister-in-law Rachel Davis painted a mural on a back wall. They’ve also reclaimed pieces including bar equipment from the former Fuji Ya, high-top tables from the Vadnais Inn, and tables from a family friend who owned a bar up north.
In a room tucked away, Alan will distill the vodka and gin in a custom-made Mile Hi 53-gallon electric still boiler. Each small batch will yield about 5 gallons of alcohol at about 150 proof. Water is then added to reduce the alcohol content by about half, he says.
The cocktail menu will cater to all tastes—those wanting to try something new with a twist to someone seeking an old standby. Cocktails will be based around the handcrafted vodka and gin and supplemented with freshly infused ingredients designed by Andrea, who also has a custom cake and dessert business.
“I don’t drink alcohol, but I’ve bartended for years. I like to cook and bake to create things that people will enjoy. I like coming up with new flavor combinations and it doesn’t end at cooking and baking,” Andrea says, noting she also plans on creating non-alcoholic cocktails.
She has plenty of taste testers as she works on the rotating seasonal cocktail menus. Drinks this spring will include a rosemary vodka-infused greyhound and a Moscow mule with mint-infused vodka. Fall may bring a cocktail with pumpkin and she’s thinking about peppermint for the winter.
“We’ve made this a family affair, all of our owners are family or close friends,” Alan says. “We’re not looking to get our product on store shelves. We’re focused on creating a community experience and operation.”
Opening: April 29
Managing owners: Alan Davis, Andrea Davis, and Amy Hotchkiss
Distiller: Alan Davis
Spirits: Fetching Fox (London Dry gin with pine notes), Restless Fox (new wave gin known for floral, rose, coriander, and juniper notes), and Dapper Wolf (clean and crisp vodka)
Cocktails: Initial focus on gin and vodka infusions, rotating seasonally. Most cocktails will include small-batch, freshly infused ingredients. Menu will include rosemary vodka infused greyhound, Moscow mule with mint-infused vodka, White Russian with coffee-infused vodka
Address: 7530 N 42nd Ave, New Hope, MN 55428
Hours: Thu: 4–10 pm; Fri: 4–11 pm; Sat: 12–11 pm