The International Live Events Association (ILEA) Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter held the 13th annual Minnesota Star Awards and recognized Grand View Lodge in Nisswa as Best Catering Specialty Item and Best Creative Services-Marketing/Graphic Design for its 2016 Distilled event.

The Star Awards began in 2004 as a way to provide event professionals in Minnesota with an opportunity to gain recognition of the events they create, plan, manage and execute each year. The event each year showcases industry trends and innovative event productions.

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This was Grand View Lodge's first year being nominated for two categories and winning both nominations: Best Specialty Item (Distilled Craft Spirits Dinner) and Best Marketing (Distilled overall event campaign).

"Our vision was to create something unique and trendy with our marketing materials. The essence was to have a metro-sexual Paul Bunyan-esque feel", said Frank Soukup, director of marketing at Grand View Lodge. "It takes a lot of work to launch a new event. Creation of a marketing campaign followed by logos, marketing pieces, website, eblast and more all took place to get the word out. So, we are very honored to accept this ILEA award."

The Distilled event featured culinary masterpieces, classes and seminars that taught the science behind the art of mixology. The Distilled weekend kicked off on a Friday night with a five-course plated dinner that was paired with specialty cocktails. The star course of the 2016 Distilled Spirits Dinner was the Grilled Venison Carpaccio with Beef Tartare, Roasted Beet Concasse, Poached Quail Egg, Pumpernickel Petit Croutons and Sweet Mustard Emulsion.

"Our team hosts several culinary events but our award-winning Distilled Craft Spirits Dinner is unique in itself," said Executive Chef Michael Manders. "The biggest challenge in preparation was perfectly poaching 50 tiny quail eggs. Each egg had to be carefully cracked into simmering water and removed at the proper time."

Grand View Lodge will host its second annual Distilled weekend April 7-9 with the big event being the Grand Tasting at 6 p.m. Tickets are available online. For more information, visit or call Grand View Lodge at 218-963-2234.