As a fourth-grader, Scott Ervin wanted to be a mad scientist. Instead, he ended up starting Norseman Distillery in an industrial basement in northeast Minneapolis, and became the Twin Cities' first legal micro-distiller. In the wake of a 2011 law change that lowered the state's barrier to entry for making small-batch spirits, micro-distilleries are booming in Minnesota. At the beginning of this year, about a dozen were in the works statewide, and five were up and running. Ervin's the first in the Twin Cities to get bottles of spirits on liquor store shelves — though he's had a hard time keeping them there. Since he shipped his first cases of Norseman Vodka in mid-December, they've been flying off shelves; the first 160 cases sold out in two days. Ervin argues that's because his stuff is better than the major-label vodkas. He sources all of his own grains, and oversees every step of the distilling process, from milling to fermenting, distilling to bottling. "It's the freshest stuff on the shelf," Ervin says. "This is like vodka you would have had 100 years ago." Coming up next: Norseman gin, whiskey, and rum.