February 10, 2012
By: Brenna Lemieux
Infinite Spirits, a company launched in 2003 in Blaine, Minnesota, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, according to the West Central Tribune. The company, which was launched by the founders of Pete's Brewing Company (which produces Pete's Wicket Ale), aimed to produce high-quality American-made vodka.
Its best-known product, Shakers Vodka, is sold in frosted bottles designed to resemble martini shakers. Shakers is distilled from wheat grown in Minnesota and earned recognition in the years following its introduction as a domestic competitor for premium foreign vodkas.
In its first years on the market, Shakers reportedly sold well, bringing in roughly $1 million in annual sales. There remains a possibility that the brand will continue, if another company is interested in purchasing it during the bankruptcy process. When Infinite Spirits filed its bankruptcy petition, the company listed assets totaling slightly less than $200,000 and debts in excess of $2.25 million.
Of its assets, many are pieces of manufacturing, bottling, and storage equipment.
Infinite Spirits has reportedly blamed its financial troubles on two factors: market conditions and internal strife that led to a "dysfunctional" corporate environment. Whatever the internal difficulties, it is not surprising that a luxury alcohol brand is facing financial difficulties during some of the most severe financial turmoil in recent U.S. history.
After Infinite Spirits launched in 2003, the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company opened an operation arm to distill Shakers Vodka. The distillery, called Glacial Grain Spirits, is located in Benson, Minnesota. It seems that Benson residents look on the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing sadly, as Shakers and its maker, Infinite Spirits, brought recognition and jobs to its corner of the state.
At the peak of its success, Shakers Vodka sold varieties made with rye and wheat, along with seasonal vodka "flavors" such as violet, rose, and summer.
Shakers' founders, who launched Pete's Brewing Company in 1986, have made high-quality alcohol production their mission for more than two decades. With Pete's, they committed to preparing beers only malt-only recipes, rather than with rice and corn, as larger American brewing companies often do.
Malt-only beers are more expensive to produce than those made with rice, corn, and other replacements, but are considered to be of higher quality. In 1998, the Gambrinus Company acquired Pete's Brewing Company.
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