Across the state, there’s no shortage of craft spirits to enjoy. From the rye-based whiskeys of Two James and Journeyman to the unique bottlings of newcomer Mammoth Distilling that incorporate local heirloom strains of juniper, Michigan’s spirit-makers have taken a creative approach to distilling and aging. But it’s more than the products that make these distilleries special, according to Coxen. “The real difference is the strong sense of community they share,” she says.
The story of Michigan distillery mirrors that of the greater country, which has long had a love affair with whiskey, both shaping and reflecting it, with Detroit’s own storied moonshine history a key element. That story started in 1850, when Hiram Walker began selling his Club Whiskey out of his shop at the foot of Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, just as the Civil War disrupted production, storage and shipping all across the country.
Discovering the Best of Spirits: Exploring Michigan’s Distillery Scene
On a farm surrounded by forests an hour south of Traverse City, Richard Anderson and his wife, Anne White, grow rye and Jupiter winter wheat for their spirits. That grain comes to life in their smooth vodka, gin and single-malt whiskeys, which are distilled on the property with ingredients grown in the nearby fields.
The couple is not your typical distillers, though: Their engineering backgrounds give them a unique perspective on the technical side of spirits production. Combined with their Old World work ethic and a commitment to sourcing all local materials, it translates into an attention to detail in their cocktails and spirits that’s hard to match in the region.
Weiss Distilling Co.
34 14 Mile Rd, Clawson, MI 48017, United States