A rural Spring Grove, Minn., farmer has begun making whiskeys with his own grain at the area’s first craft distillery, in downtown Spring Grove.

Christian Myrah, majority owner of RockFilter Distillery at 113 Maple Drive, said he expects to have bottled bourbons and other whiskeys ready to sell to bars, restaurants and liquor stores in Minnesota by the end of this year or early next year.

At about the same time, a cocktail room will open in part of the distillery, which is in a former creamery. The cocktail room will offer samples, and whiskey and cocktails will be available for purchase. Tours of the distillery also will be available.

Myrah plans to eventually expand distribution to other states.

“It’s an agricultural venture that adds value to agricultural products,” Myrah said of the distillery, which he and three silent partners own.

For its first batches, the distillery is using organic corn, rye and oats raised by Myrah and his father, Leonard Myrah. “We’ll be using a variety of other grains,” he said, such as wheat and sorghum that they also raise organically.

The distillery eventually may make additional kinds of spirits, such as brandy.

The area’s limestone formations are conducive to making good whiskeys, Myrah believes. Limestone-filtered water in Kentucky often is cited as contributing to the success of distillers in that state, which produces most of the nation’s bourbon whiskey.

For more information, call Myrah at 507-458-3056 or visit RockFilter Distillery’s Facebook page.

Burger Fusion Co. will open its second location in June in the former Buster’s Bar & Grill at 200 Pearl St. in the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites building.

Owners Matt Boshcka, Matt Birnbaum and Tim Larsen opened their first Burger Fusion in 2014 in Valley View Mall.

Buster’s closed April 24 for remodeling and its transformation into Burger Fusion.

“We plan to open in June with select hours,” Boshcka said last week, adding that he hopes to have a grand opening July 1. “We’ll try our best to start serving breakfast and providing room service in early June.”

For more information about opening dates and hours, check Burger Fusion’s Facebook page and website www.burgerfusioncompany.com.

The new restaurant will have the menu items that the Onalaska location has, plus a breakfast menu and foods made on the downtown site’s existing wood-fired grill. It also will have a beer, wine and ice cream shakes bar and 10 designated customer parking spaces in the hotel lot.

“It’s a perfect location for us, across the street from the La Crosse Center,” Boshcka said of the downtown site. “We’ll be in the middle of the downtown hotel district” and near major businesses. “Downtown is growing, and we want to be part of that.”

After 21 years, Saturday was the last day for the Caribbean-themed Coconut Joe’s bar at 128 S. Third St. in downtown La Crosse.

George Markos, who with his brother Dave owns the business, said a major renovation will begin Monday for a new restaurant and bar. “We’re hoping for sometime in July” to open, he said, adding that he’s not yet ready to announce the new name and theme.

“It’s going to be a hybrid thing,” Markos said. “It’ll still have a great nightlife, but we’ll put more emphasis on the food” than Coconut Joe’s had.

“We just thought it was dated,” Markos said of Coconut Joe’s. “We think it’s time for a new concept here, filling a new niche.”

Markos said he and his brother opened Coconut Joe’s in 1995 and will continue to operate Sawtooth Sam’s Saloon next door, at 223 Pearl St.

Look for a Starbucks store to open later this year at 224 Buan St., just east of the Arby’s restaurant along Hwy. 21 on the far North Side of Tomah. The site is west of Superior Avenue.

A building permit application has been filed with the city for the planned 2,100-square-foot Starbucks, Shane Rolff, city zoning administrator and building inspector, said Monday. At press time, it was possible the permit would be issued later in the week.

A spokeswoman for the Seattle-based coffee chain told me in an e-mail that Starbucks plans to open its Tomah location later this year, but declined to be more specific.

Starbucks Coffee Co. has more than 23,000 stores around the world.

Steve Cahalan can be reached at stevecahalan.reporter@gmail.com or at 608-782-9710, ext. 8819.


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