There is a new flavor of liquor that has hit the shelves of liquor stores here in the Twin Cities, as well as other places through the country and its Yerlo produced by Lo Artisan Distillery in Door County Wisconsin. It originally started making its way through Wisconsin and Minnesota in 2011, but it recently has exploded as I myself have seen it many more stores and even be served at local bars and clubs, which is why this is becoming a popular choice of drinkers.
I recently had a chance to try some of the Yerlo at a Super Bowl party recently. I admit, I was a bit apprehensive as I have had good and bad experiences with Hmong liquor, but this was definitely a good experience. It went down much smoother than I thought it would and didn’t leave a bad after taste. A very tasty liquor in deed.
I had the chance to talk with Po Lo, the owner of Lo Artisan Distillery to get some background on his product and his company.
Hmoodle: I am here with the owner of Lo Artisan Distillery, Po Lo. How are you?
Po: I am doing Fantastic and couldn’t be better!
Hmoodle: Lets get right to it. What made you decide to get into the liquor business?
Po: I got into the liquor (Cawv Hmoob) producing business because I saw that there was a need for it. I knew of home distillers, but none of them were legally producing it, so I wanted to be the first to do it and to keep it going successfully for this generation and the ones after.
Hmoodle: When did you start your company?
Po: I started my company, Lo Artisan Distillery, LLC in late 2009 and the first product, Yerlo, hit the shelves in the Fall of 2011 in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Hmoodle: How has the growth of the company been going?
Po: There is a steady growth on my Yerlo products. To my knowledge, I don’t believe every Hmong has heard about my Cawv Hmoob (Hmong Rice Spirits). The ones that have are mostly my generations and some of the elders (our parents). Currently, the news about Yerlo Rice Spirits has spread across the United States and into the American Wine/Spirits/Liquor markets. It’s because of its quality and hand-crafted process that has given us this kind of exposure. I believe the growth will continue to soar as long as I produce the quality I had originally set out to and not be too concern of “how much” I am expected to produce. My philosophy is to produce/create the Best quality Premium Hmong Rice Spirits in the Market.
Hmoodle: What flavors do you offer?
Po: The flavors in Yerlo is the traditional flavors that the Hmong People created centuries ago back in Laos and Thailand. I have not deviated anything regarding flavors and techniques other than using the top distilling equipments and improving on techniques. In Yerlo & Yerlo Reserve, you will get the traditional flavors of the Fire burn, Jasmine rice aroma, earthy, sweet and smooth after taste. With our first brand of Yerlo being at 120 Proof, you will most certainly feel and taste the smoothness compared to the home distilled versions. With our Yerlo Reserve at 130 Proof, you get even more flavors of the Yerlo, but with extra smoothness and more of a creeper after you have finished the shot. Yerlo Reserve being smoother, you would never think it is 130 Proof. Our third brand, Yerlo X, will be the next New Big Thing! This is our Hmong Rice Spirits aged in New American Oak barrels that with the end result being a new Rice Whiskey. I am excited to be bringing out this new breed of Whiskey for the whole world! Only five-hundred bottles will be produced in 2013. The reason for that is that it takes close to evelen months to create. It is a 90 Proof Rice Whiskey. Its tastes consist of a rich buttery, butterscotchy, vanilla, oaky & earthy yet still maintains the original Yerlo characteristics (Cawv Hmoob). You will not have the same type of aftertaste you would get with the Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker or Hennessy. I know that many will enjoy my New Yerlo X, Premium Hmong Rice Whiskey.
Hmoodle: What has been the response to Yerlo”
Po: People of all ethnicities have come to embrace and love Yerlo, Hmong Rice Spirits with open arms. For the ones that have not tried it, but have heard of it, I encourage you to try it for yourself, but keep in mind that Cawv Hmoob (Hmong Rice Spirits) is not for everyone, but for those who enjoy it, it will be a new surprise.
Hmoodle: How and where can readers find Yerlo?
Po: Readers and interested buyers can find my products in 11 states: WI, MN, IL, CA, MT, MA, CT, RI, LA, TX, SC. Just go to my website: www.lo-artisandistillery.com and look up the state which you are in and then the city, then the store(s) nearest you. Not only that, you can always Google “Yerlo Rice Spirits” or “Lo Artisan Distillery” on the search engines and you will come across my company and products as well as many other articles and ads/reviews written about Yerlo Rice Spirits!
Hmoodle: Any last words for our readers?
Po: My distillery is a small distillery. When I say we are a “Family-Run Distillery,” we really are. It’s just my parents and I. Also, keep in mind that our company is a part time company and only produce every three to four months due to the long fermentation process.
Lastly, I want to Thank God Almighty for his guidance and thank you all to those who have supported Yerlo Rice Spirits and its products. Also a huge thank you to the very few who have supported me financially and believing in me from the very beginning. I hope to have every Hmong household have at least pne bottle of my Yerlo products in their home whether if it’s for display or to enjoy. Thank you all very much! I appreciate it greatly.
We at Hmoodle want to thank Po for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk with us. We urge, you our readers, to go and try to find a bottle of Yerlo and help celebrate Po’s success. I, myself, look forward to trying all flavors, as well as the whiskey he mentioned. I’m not big on whiskey, but the flavor he describes definitely appeals to me.