HOLLAND — The way Coppercraft Distillery owners run their business is creative, memorable, but most importantly, local.

Local means a farmer drives his tractor about 10 miles down the road and drops off a huge trailer of corn to produce their spirits.

Local means in-house mixologist Jenney Grant is a regular visitor to the Holland Farmer’s Market, methodically selecting the freshest ingredients possible for her inspired cocktails featured in the Coppercraft tasting room.

Local means the distillery collaborates with nearby breweries such as Our Brewing Company to ensure they have the barrels they need for aged beers.

Even the Coppercraft tasting room is adorned with reclaimed wood from local barns and factories to provide a unique local experience.

“We try to focus on as local as possible,” Grant said during a recent tour of the tasting room with a vintage industrial vibe.

Walter Catton and Mark Fellwock started Coppercraft Distillery in 2012. After producing enough spirits, they opened the tasting room, located at 184 120th Ave, in November 2013.

Since then “grain-to-glass” business has taken off. Grant said Coppercraft produces four clear spirits — gin, rum, vodka and citrus vodka — and four aged spirits — corn whiskey, high wheat whiskey, rye malt whiskey and applejack.

This summer the company will unveil its bourbon, which it hopes will become a flagship product. Coppercraft also is brewing a special juniper-forward gin for the Tulip Time Festival in May and a smoked cherry malt coffee whiskey, Grant said.

Coppercraft spirits are distributed in more than 100 retail locations, including various restaurants and bars in Michigan. However, the craft spirits industry is still in its infancy, around 15 years behind the craft beer industry, according to Grant.

Consequently, the company has ramped up production to meets its positive growth forecast. It purchased a new Vendome copper still, equipment now requiring a two-year wait, nearly doubling its weekly output to 10 barrels.

In 2015, Coppercraft hopes to expand into Colorado, Illinois and the east side of Michigan.

“We are hitting the markets that celebrate craft,” Grant said.

HOLLAND — The way Coppercraft Distillery owners run their business is creative, memorable, but most importantly, local.
Local means a farmer drives his tractor about 10 miles down the road and drops off a huge trailer of corn to produce their spirits.
Local means in-house mixologist Jenney Grant is a regular visitor to the Holland Farmer’s Market, methodically selecting the freshest ingredients possible for her inspired cocktails featured in the Coppercraft tasting room.
Local means the distillery collaborates with nearby breweries such as Our Brewing Company to ensure they have the barrels they need for aged beers.
Even the Coppercraft tasting room is adorned with reclaimed wood from local barns and factories to provide a unique local experience.
“We try to focus on as local as possible,” Grant said during a recent tour of the tasting room with a vintage industrial vibe.
Walter Catton and Mark Fellwock started Coppercraft Distillery in 2012. After producing enough spirits, they opened the tasting room, located at 184 120th Ave, in November 2013.
Since then “grain-to-glass” business has taken off. Grant said Coppercraft produces four clear spirits — gin, rum, vodka and citrus vodka — and four aged spirits — corn whiskey, high wheat whiskey, rye malt whiskey and applejack.
This summer the company will unveil its bourbon, which it hopes will become a flagship product. Coppercraft also is brewing a special juniper-forward gin for the Tulip Time Festival in May and a smoked cherry malt coffee whiskey, Grant said.
Coppercraft spirits are distributed in more than 100 retail locations, including various restaurants and bars in Michigan. However, the craft spirits industry is still in its infancy, around 15 years behind the craft beer industry, according to Grant.
Consequently, the company has ramped up production to meets its positive growth forecast. It purchased a new Vendome copper still, equipment now requiring a two-year wait, nearly doubling its weekly output to 10 barrels.
In 2015, Coppercraft hopes to expand into Colorado, Illinois and the east side of Michigan.
“We are hitting the markets that celebrate craft,” Grant said.

Over the last seven years, Grand Traverse Distillery has continuously grown to become one of the state’s largest craft micro-distilleries. And, in late September, the distillery opened the doors to a tasting room at the heart of downtown Traverse City.

With a focus on quality products and local grains, owner Kent Rabish opened Grand Traverse Distillery in 2007. The distillery, hidden amongst industrial buildings, first opened as a production facility. At the time of its opening, it was only one of about 30 micro-distilleries in the country.

“Then, about two years ago, the law changed, and our business changed,” stated Rabish.

Hand-crafted and made in small batches, Grand Traverse Distillery has become known throughout the region for its quality. It’s signature vodka, True North Vodka, is made from rye grown in Williamsburg on the Send brothers’ farm and is distilled 37 times. The result is a vodka that is exceptionally smooth.  Other products include a cherry vodka, wheat vodka and chocolate vodka along with a variety of whiskey and gin.

And now, customers can experience these Grand Traverse Distillery products before purchasing whole bottles. The downtown tasting room provides customers with the opportunity to sample products and to ask questions.

“Tasting rooms are a way to get the product in front of people,” explained Rabish.

The Traverse City tasting room is in the perfect location to educate the public about the flavor profiles of vodka, whiskey and gin. During my visit, many people stopped to look at the still in display in the window. Some curiously wandered in to investigate.

Customers finding their way to Grand Traverse Distillery is what Rabish aims to accomplish with the tasting room. “99% of customers are not going to come to 3 Mile [Road]. Downtown, it’s easy for them to walk in.”

Upon walking in, customers are greeted by a sophisticated presence that inspires you to drink an upscale cocktail. Customers can browse distillery products, spirits and cocktail mixers or visit the tasting lounge in the back. Unlike a bar, the tasting room serves as a place to expand the pallet.

Customers can take a tasting of three Grand Traverse Distillery spirits or can try a specialty cocktail. Tasting options range from True North Cherry Vodka to Ole George Whiskey, which has been aged for three years. As a dedicated beer drinker, this was new territory for me. The tasting room attendants welcomed questions and were able to offer insight into flavor profiles and the way each spirit is crafted.

So, if you find yourself wandering around in downtown Traverse City, you might want to make your way to the Grand Traverse Distillery tasting room at 215 E Front Street. The distillery also has tasting rooms in Leland and Frankenmuth.

No longer is Northport just a quiet village at the tip of the pinky. Northport Brewing, the only microbrewery in Leelanau County, opened its doors on June 25. And, with Lake Michigan in the background, community members filling the outdoor patio and excitement pouring into the streets, Northport Brewing held its Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday.

Scott and Pamela Cain, along with Brewmaster Collin Gaudard founded Northport Brewing. “We are so lucky to have an incredible and talented team, an amazing location and the overwhelming support of the community,” explained Pamela Cain.

The team put in a lot of time and effort to get their business off the ground. Before they could open their doors, however, the team needed additional funding. And so, earlier this year, they launched a Kickstarter campaign.

“We would like to thank all our backers that donated through Kickstarter so we could expand our fermentation space to meet the demand for beer at the taproom so far,” expressed Cain.

“We also want to thank all the local contractors who helped us build our new brew house, taproom and patio,” Cain continued.

With such support, the first few months of business have been more successful than expected.

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Northport Brewing’s Grand Opening commemorated all of this hard work and support. The celebration featured six Northport taps, live music and a barbecue. Many local community members and fellow brewers came out to support the new brewery. Chris Contreras and John Kilgren, who formed the Northport Brewing Sailing Team earlier in the summer, were among those in attendance.

Kilgren was drinking the Walk in the Water Enkle, which he hopes becomes a staple of the brewery. The Enkle is light and crisp, with a balance of malt and bitterness. “I’m not a microbrew drinker, so when I find one I like, I hold onto it,” he stated.

I found myself enjoying the Metamora Cherry Saison, a specialty dark farmhand style beer brewed with tart Leelanau cherries. This particular brew won Specialty Brewer Scott Cain the Best Saison award in Right Brain Brewery’s 2013 Homebrew Competiton. While dark in color, it is light in taste with refreshing notes of cherry. Other favorites of the night included the Rising Sun Raspberry Wit and Odessa Double IPA.

Having grown up in Leelanau County, amidst the farms, sand dunes and cherry orchards, it is uplifting to see the region continue to evolve. It remains my favorite area to escape to for its breathtaking views and the supportive nature of the people. And now, the area has much more to share.

Cain said it perfectly when she stated, “Northport is back open for business! Come on up and check it out!”