Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon Sustained Himself on Beer, Whiskey, and Deer Meat While He Was in That Cabin Recording For Emma …

The deer hunter.
The deer hunter. Photo: Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Last night, at the Bushmill’s “Since Way Back” event held at The Wooly, Grub Street got to grab a few minutes with Justin Vernon, the man behind Bon Iver. Since the mood at the party was so whiskey-saturated, we naturally wondered how Vernon whet his whistle while he was famously secluded in a Wisconsin cabin recording For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver’s debut. And the diet was about as rugged as you might expect.

“Leinenkugel’s,” Vernon said was his beer of choice. “And whatever whiskey my dad had around that I could steal. And venison.” Hold up, did he have to hunt his own? “Me and my brother always hunted growing up, but I wasn’t actually living there during the hunt.” Still, Vernon says meat from that year’s deer was in the cabin. “I ate a bunch because I didn’t have any other food.” Nothing at all? Well, Vernon admits, his dad — who he describes as the “Kurt Vonnegut of North Woods” — would “would drop in once in a while and get, like, eggs and, like beer and milk and stuff.”