One hundred years ago in the small North Dakota town of Zap, Martin Weidner created a “smokehouse moonshine” that he shared with friends and family who loved its unrefined taste. His recipe was passed down through generations, eventually ending up with his great-grandson Art Weidner, who wanted to share his family’s light bodied liqueur with the world.
Weidner began bottling his “Sweet Crude” in 2018 and its popularity has exploded across North Dakota. Distilled with the help of Chris Montana, president of the American Craft Spirits Association, Sweet Crude can be purchased in over 200 locations in North Dakota and has sold more than 10,000 bottles.
“All of Sweet Crude’s flavors come from brewed natural ingredients,” Weidner said. “It’s the main ingredient that sets it apart from the others, though. We use sugar from beets harvested right here in the Red River Valley, which we caramelize ourselves. Our machine precisely and consistently turns out perfect, pure caramelized sugar. It’s so good that I’m thinking of starting a side business, selling it to bakeries and pastry shops.”