The Twisted Shrub

The Twisted Shrub was nominated by Skaalvenn Distillery for this post.

If you spent 20 years working for a large company in the food industry and suddenly got laid off with a generous severance package, what would you do with your life?

Well, Scott Dillon--when he got laid off from a Minnesota-based food giant just a couple years ago--he had no clue what he was going to do. In fact, in the midst of his new need for direction in life, he found himself taking magic classes, ushering for Twins games, and taking pan-USA road trips with his children. He also, one fateful night, took a class about drinking shrubs with his wife at Parlour Bar in Minneapolis's North Loop. "I went into the class thinking, 'what the heck is a drinking shrub,' and left it in an epiphany moment. I thought, 'Okay, this is my next path in life.'" 109 days later, Scott launched his new business The Twisted Shrub at Linden Hills Farmers' Market in Minneapolis.

 Bottling up all 5 flavors at his production space in the NE Food District building

Bottling up all 5 flavors at his production space in the NE Food District building

So what IS a drinking shrub? Quite simply, it's fruit, sugar and vinegar, all boiled down and bottled up to make a sweet-tart mixer that instantly transforms your booze or LaCroix into a cocktail or mocktail. The Twisted Shrub currently has five flavors on the market, which can be found at Mill City Farmers' Market, local co-ops and liquor stores, and online at Amazon.com. Scott does all his production out of the new Food District building in Northeast Minneapolis.

 Rumor has it there is a 6th flavor in the works!

Rumor has it there is a 6th flavor in the works!

Forward Eats MSP followers met with Scott recently for an informal but informative happy hour to hear his story and learn about his product line. The happy hour very rapidly turned into two, only because Scott's insight on the local food scene and food business in general is both passionate and endless.

 Scott talking shrubs at the Forward Eats MSP event

Scott talking shrubs at the Forward Eats MSP event

Attendees of this event were genuinely more interested in picking Scott's brain for a look into his triumphs and tribulations in both local and national markets than they were in drinking free, unlimited cocktails mixed with The Twisted Shrub. Call me naive,  but in that moment of realization, I understood that even though Scott does a good deal of business on Amazon, having his passion, knowledge, and years of insight into the local industry behind a Northeast Minneapolis-based food business is invaluable.

 Forward Eats MSP followers experimenting with making their own cocktail creations with The Twisted Shrub

Forward Eats MSP followers experimenting with making their own cocktail creations with The Twisted Shrub

I won't go so far as to say we're happy you were laid off, Scott, but well--we really kind of are! Thank you for putting your years of expertise into creating your own successful business, and sharing your experience with all of us Forward Eaters and the greater Twin Cities community. Shrub on!

 Pineapple Habanero shrub & whiskey = my favorite cocktail combo of the evening

Pineapple Habanero shrub & whiskey = my favorite cocktail combo of the evening

Stay tuned to see who The Twisted Shrub nominated for my next post!