Minnesota 13

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Minnesota 13 was the name given to the corn liquor moonshine distilled on many central Minnesota Stearns County farms. It became well known across America and Canada as "Minnesota 13", a premium quality twice distilled and properly aged whiskey, (said by many to taste remarkably like "Canadian Club"). Stearns County was populated predominantly by German and Polish Catholics at that time. Holdingford was considered the unofficial moonshine capital of Minnesota.[1]

One story for the origin of the name says it came from a producer who hand-lettered his labels because he was proud of his product.[2] Minnesota 13 was the name of an open pollinated corn variety developed by the University of Minnesota and used in Stearns County because of its shorter growing season.

Eventually, Federal agents managed to sharply curtail the large-scale manufacturing of moonshine in Stearns County. They succeeded by burning barns and sheds and through various acts of intimidation. They exploited divisions within the community by using informers and they undermined the tip system by sharpening their raiding strategies. Increased surveillance and a bigger stick to punish in the form of Jones Law finally blunted community resistance.

However, while they managed to alter behavior, they failed to change beliefs. Stearns County had its revenge when it voted 4 to 1 for repeal of the hated 18th amendment to the US Constitution. A number of books on local history refer to Minnesota 13 and its importance of helping people through tough times. The only book on the subject is Minnesota 13: Stearns County's Wet Wild Prohibition Days by Elaine Davis published in 2007.


  1. ^ "Minnesota 13 author to be at Herald booth during LNO". Sauk Centre Herald. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2015.
  2. ^ Hennemann, Carl (12 Oct 1962). "Minnesota 13 - It turned Corn into Gold". St. Paul Dispatch.

Additional References[edit]

  • Elaine Davis Minnesota 13 Stearns County's 'Wet' Wild Prohibition Days, Sweet Grass Publishing (2007) ISBN 9780979801709
  • Robert J Voigt "Opoliana", Sentinel Printing co. 1987
  • Robert J Voigt "The People of St. Wendel" (1867–1992), Park Press 1992
  • Robert J. Voigt "The Arban Way " A History of the Parish at Arban, Minnesota 1873-1973
  • Vincent Arthur Yzermans The Ford in the River, Park Press. 397 pages (1985)
  • M Hatten "Stearns County has moonshine in its history" St. Cloud Times 2007-9 10
  • "Look in grab bag of local history" St. Cloud Times Retrieved on 2007-07-21
  • Marilyn Salzl Brinkman "local moonshine popular nationwide" St. Cloud Times 2008-05-10

External links[edit]