Tattersall just voted to become America's first unionized craft distillery

City Pages file

City Pages file

Liquor labor history was just made in northeast Minneapolis. 

Workers at Tattersall Distillery have voted to unionize, officially joining forces with Minneapolis-based hospitality union Unite Here Local 17. The mail-in ballots were counted and certified Thursday by the National Labor Relations Board. 

While some macro-distillery brands have union workforces (Jim Beam, Pinnacle Vodka, Captain Morgan), Thursday's vote by Tattersall workers made them the first U.S. craft spirits shop to unionize, according to Unite Here.

"We’ve said it before but we want to reiterate that we love Tattersall," the Tattersall union wrote Thursday. "We consider this win another opportunity for Tattersall to be a leader in the industry; to be a catalyst of growth and progress for other establishments in and around our community."

The move affects 27 front-of-house and bottling Tattersall workers, who will now be able to collectively bargain for pay and benefits; Unite Here represents more than 6,000 workers. 

"This means that they finally have the thing they spent months fighting for: a real voice at work," says Sheigh Freeberg, an organizer with Unite Here. "This is only the beginning for organizing in the service industry; Tattersall workers are leading a movement of workers standing up for a better life."

Tattersall's co-owners, Jon Kreidler and Dan Oskey, were initially resistant to that movement. Back in June, they issued anti-union sentiments via Instagram, writing: "We don’t believe a union is necessary, nor is it in the best interest of our employees or our company." 

The internet swiftly dunked all over them, prompting a "we hear you" backpedal.

"We respect the decision of our employees and will bargain in good faith with the union," Kreidler told us Thursday. 

Now we'll get to see if a unionized workplace is in the best interest of Tattersall workers.

Tattersall, which won our Best Craft Distillery prize back in 2016, pivoted to hand sanitizer production during the early days of the pandemic, and continues to offer to-go drinks and spirits at its Northeast cocktail room.