Wednesday, July 09, 2014


PRESS RELEASE   6/24/2014 

Local Prohibition history is making the transition from book to film, as documentary filming takes place in various county locations this summer.  

“Minnesota 13: From Grain to Glass” follows the colorful moonshine-making history of Stearns County, as Depression-devastated farmers turned to making illegal alcohol. 

The alcohol evolved into a branded product, nationally distributed, with a premium reputation. 

The film explores Elaine Davis’s book ‘Minnesota 13-Wet Wild Prohibition Days,” the history of an elite whiskey produced in the heart of Minnesota during Prohibition years and beyond. 

The documentary also follows the modern-day attempts of organic farmers growing Minnesota 13 heritage corn seed and a St. Paul micro-distiller resuscitating the brand as premium whiskey.  

The film will intertwine and interpret the stories, the lore, ethnicity, religion, local and national law enforcement, geography, farm economics, regional history and insights into why Stearns County didn’t become the ‘Jack Daniels” producing area of the USA after Prohibition ended.   

Documentarians Norah Shapiro and Kelly Nathe are co-directing/co-producing the film. Norah Shapiro is a Minneapolis-based independent documentary filmmaker (formerly a public defender) and owner of Flying Pieces Productions.  Los Angeles-based Kelly Nathe is closely connected to the story, with family and childhood ties to Holdingford and Little Birch Lake in western Stearns County, where significant moonshining took place and Al Capone visited. 

 Filming is ongoing at 11 Wells Distillery in the refurbished Hamms Brewery in St Paul, the Stearns History Museum and Research Center, Baker's Acres in Avon,  the Stearns County jail, the city of Holdingford and other local community sites. 

The documentary has been partially funded with Arts and Cultural Heritage Funds from Minnesota's Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.

Follow the filmmaking on Facebook at  If you have any unique ‘Minnesota 13’ historical contributions to the film, such as photographs, artifacts, tunnels, blackened cooking rooms, intact stills in place, arrest records, or wish to be interviewed, please contact Elaine Davis with your info.  612 968 1109 or

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