Chris Montana, one of the few Black distillery owners in America, provided food, aid and comfort to his Minneapolis community, which was ravaged by the pandemic and rage over the murder of George Floyd blocks away from his business.
Montana, like many business owners, endured a series of challenges in 2020. The warehouse for his microdistillery, Du Nord Craft Spirits—located near Minneapolis' Third Precinct—was looted and damaged by fire in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder in May 2020. Two days after Floyd's death, Montana handed out water and hand sanitizer to protesters as a show of support and to slow the spread of a growing pandemic.
Restrictions put in place to prevent COVID-19 from spreading caused business at Du Nord—one of the few Black-owned distilleries in America—to slow down. But it didn't stop Montana from both rebuilding and sharing what he had with the Minneapolis community. Even more impressive was Montana's dedication to uplifting his neighbors when they needed it the most. Not too long after the warehouse fire, he went to work by raising money through a recovery fund, which aimed to help other businesses owned by people of color affected by riots.
Montana turned his warehouse into a food bank and co-founded the Du Nord Foundation, whose mission is to help rebuild and restore economic prosperity to his community. What started as a flash-solution to a food desert created in the wake of the civil unrest has lived on to help families through a pandemic that has continued to hamper them economically.
Montana's dedication to his community is one of factors that led Delta Airlines to start serving Du Nord's Foundation Vodka on its domestic flights in October with plans to roll out more spirits from the company in 2022.
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