BROOTEN (WJON News) - A family-owned dairy in Western Stearns County is expanding.

USDA Rural Development has awarded a $1.5 million loan to expand the Redhead Creamery near Brooten.

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The loan will be used to expand the current cheesemaking operation and add a unique milk-based distillery.

Alise Sjostrom is the co-owner and cheesemaker at the creamery. She says, once operational, Redhead Creamery will be one of the very few operations making the distilled spirit.

It's called Araga, it's Mongolian originally and not extremely common. There are eight or nine other facilities in the world that are doing this. I think we're either the only or maybe the second (distillery) doing all of the processes on site.

In addition to the distillery, Redhead Creamery is adding to its existing restaurant with the hopes of being able to seat larger groups.

Before COVID, we did a lot of private dinners for 26 to 30 people, because that's how many we could seat. We wanted to be able to seat more people, so our goal was to be able to fit at least one tour bus at a time and be able to feed. So we're excited to have a full kitchen, full seating, and enough bathrooms that everyone can use.

Construction is underway, with hopes that the restaurant will be in operation by Christmas, and the expanded cheesemaking space in use by early 2024.

Learn More - Listen to Redhead Creamery's interview from WJON's "Rush Hour"

The tasting room is open Fridays from noon until 2:30, and Saturdays from noon until 4:00. Dairy Farm tours run at 12:30 Fridays and Saturdays.

Take a Sneak Peek at Redhead Creamery!

The $1.5 million loan will expand the "cheese caves" at Redhead Creamery. Depending on the type of cheese, the product could spend two years waiting to age. Photo: The Ag. Photographer - Simple Folk Media
The $1.5 million loan will expand the "cheese caves" at Redhead Creamery. Depending on the type of cheese, the product could spend two years waiting to age. Photo: The Ag. Photographer -
Simple Folk Media
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Visitors to RedHead Creamery's tasting room will be able to watch the cheesemaking process happen while sampling the finished product. Photo: The Ag. Photographer - Simple Folk Media
Visitors to RedHead Creamery's tasting room will be able to watch the cheesemaking process happen while sampling the finished product. Photo: The Ag. Photographer -
Simple Folk Media
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Once complete, Redhead Creamery will be one of less than a dozen distilleries worldwide to create sprits from milk produced on the farm. Photo: The Ag. Photographer - Simple Folk Media
Once complete, Redhead Creamery will be one of less than a dozen distilleries worldwide to create sprits from milk produced on the farm. Photo: The Ag. Photographer -
Simple Folk Media
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The Redhead Creamery's expansion of the restaurant and distillery will more than triple the seating capacity on the dairy farm. Photo: Jeff McMahon - WJON
The Redhead Creamery's expansion of the restaurant and distillery will more than triple the seating capacity on the dairy farm. Photo: Jeff McMahon - WJON
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