Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bottoms Up; Bottom Line Down

Infinite Spirits Inc., the company that makes Shakers vodka, a premium-grade spirit distilled from wheat and rye grown in Benson, Minnesota, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. In its recent filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Paul, the company listed $195,349 in assets and $2,255,856 in liabilities.

Unsecured creditors listed in the bankruptcy filing include the Florida Marlins, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland A’s, CBS Radio and the Hartford Insurance Co.

According to an article on by Patrick Kennedy and initially reported by The West Central Tribune, five of the six founders of Infinite Spirits had worked together at the successful microbrewer Pete’s Wicked Ale, including Pat Couteaux, who became Shakers’ master distiller.

Infinite Spirits introduced its new product with a low-budget, albeit clever marketing campaign in 2003, enjoying early success and winning medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition the next year. The company had also planned on producing such other liquors as whiskey, rum and cordials.

According to the bankruptcy trustee, Richard Stermer, the vodka was made in Benson but shipped to a facility in Blaine, Minnesota, for final preparation and bottling. Production allegedly ceased last February or March when the company was evicted from the Blaine facility, possibly over a rent dispute. Stermer also states that he has been receiving offers from those wanting to buy up the assets and intellectual property of Infinite Spirits. “Hopefully we can turn that into a sale of the company,” he stated.

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