Spirited history

TOM HORGEN | Updated 9/27/2012

Booze baron Dean Phillips helps keep the history of distilling alive.

A good chunk of the bottles in Phillips' 250-piece collection don't have labels. They're simply embossed with names like "Tooze's" and "John Webber Hastings," which were retailers in the early 1900s. Shops like these lined Hennepin Avenue, where customers would buy a single-serving bottle poured from a whiskey barrel.

Recently, Phillips stepped down as the distillery's president to become a co-owner of Talenti, the country's best-selling grocery-store gelato that his father helped steer before his passing.

Phillips is still a board member at the distillery and sees himself as a lifelong ambassador -- for obvious reasons.

"Hey, my name's on the bottle," he said.