Episode 39: Gretchen Perbix of Sweetland Orchard, Scott Dillon of The Twisted Shrub

This week kicks off our Summer Cider Series! We’ll be spending the summer drinkin’ apples with some of Minnesota’s cider makers – and a couple out-of-state cider makers, and some folks who use apples for even more sinister purposes!

In Webster, Minnesota, Gretchen and Mike Perbix of Sweetland Orchard are helping bring apple-growing into the 21st Century. I sat down with Gretchen at Republic Seven Corners a couple of weeks back, and gave us a great introduction lesson to ciders.

She also told me how transactions for apple trees go down, who she gets her apple trees from, and how she keeps in touch with her suppliers – not by email, they do it old school.

Gretchen and Mike go into great detail on their website about how they control pests at their orchard and keep other threats out of their apples. She talked about her decision to put all that information out there.

I met with Scott Dillon last week, whose Twisted Shrub has been enhancing cocktails and exploding soda nationwide. What is shrub, you ask? It turns out, shrub was quite a history. Now, as healthier drinks are being sought out for modern cocktails, shrub is making a comeback. Minnesota, surprisingly, has become something of a shrub hotspot. Dillon explained all of that.

I got Scott’s story: how a layoff planted the seed that grew the business he runs today. I’ve already made some cocktails with it and I told that story, and he took me back to the first days of recipe development. He also told me about his optimism for the Minnesota Timberwolves — he makes playoff predictions! — and how the Amazon buyout of Whole Foods could affect him as a manufacturer.

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