Heather Manley l Crooked Water Spirits

Heather Manley

Crooked Water Spirits

Heather Manley

@crookedwaterspirits | crookedwaterspirits.com


With the entrepreneurial spirit in her blood, Heather Manley is disrupting the the cocktails industry. Read on to learn more about Manley’s road to success.


Can you tell us a bit about your business and background?

In 2013, I founded Crooked Water Spirits, an award-winning national spirits line that produces unique craft spirits, including bourbons, gins, vodkas, brandy and a ready-to-pour Old Fashioned. These “Spirits of the North” can be found in 6 states and over 500+ liquor stores, restaurants and airlines, gathering over 50 awards nationally. Focused on innovation, quality and the experience, CWS looks to scale with integrity and high value, while remaining 100% owner and self-funded. CWS grew over 300% in 2018 with strategic partnerships and has been WBENC certified since 2014.

I purchased On Demand Group (ODG), a technology consulting company and family business, in 2008 with my brother, Sean Manley. We have since led the organization through significant growth and expanded ODG’s business clientele to reach global markets by offering offshore solutions in Southeast Asia. Under our leadership, this global business has generated <$100M in revenue since 2008. She attributes their growth to our outstanding team and sticking to our mission of partnering with clients who align with their morals and ethics and appreciate transparency, honestly and partnership. WBENC certified since 2008, ODG provides IT resources for contract, contract to hire and direct hire needs as well as offshore services.

How do you think living in the Twin Cities has shaped your business?

Midwestern values paired with growing up in Rotary and having entrepreneurial grandparents and parents was key in having almost a naivety that anything can be done.

If you had one piece of advice for someone starting a business, what would it be?

Do something that gives you goosebumps, be different, work smart, sacrifice and think outside the box.

LAB is founded on three key values: connect, create and collaborate. What are your three key values?

Rotarian 4-way test – speak the truth, build valuable partnerships, better the community and whatever you do, make it fair to all involved.

What are some of your everyday essentials that you can’t live without?

My phone, a toothbrush, lipgloss and good food

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?

Somewhere in corporate America disrupting, or perhaps a psychologist.

Dream collaboration.

Another airline opportunity, perhaps?

Favorite place to meet/collaborate in the Twin Cities.

I try to mix it up as much as possible – always seem to end up at Ciao Bella.

What’s currently binge watching or listening to?

Stranger Things

Fantasy Dinner Party Guest List

Ha! No idea – probably just my fav people in my life.

Instagram accounts you love to see in your feed.




Last Adventure: Las Vegas, NV to judges a Spirits Competition

Next Adventure: Nantucket

Secret Skill: Cooking

Yes Please: Positivity

No Thanks: Drama