When it comes to innovation in the spirits business, micro distilleries are the new hot. And Michigan is leading the nation in this re-birth of an industry, not least because of Ferndale's Valentine Distilling Co.
"The dream of Valentine Distilling Co., it turns out, wasn’t so farfetched. Starting a microbrewery would’ve been easier (nearly anyone can make beer in a bathtub), not to mention way less of a hassle with the feds. Still, Detroit was a distillery hotbed before Prohibition.
Today, just a short distance away in Lansing, Michigan State University runs the only artisan distillery program in the country, teaching people all over the world how to craft fine liquors. Michigan, in fact, has been at the forefront of the national micro-distillery renaissance in the last couple of years, and Professor Kris Berglund, a chemical engineer who runs MSU’s program, says there's a good reason for that.
"Between fruit, grains, and root crops, we have very diverse agriculture here," he says. "Micro-distilling really exploits that, and there’s quite a bit of room for growth in the industry."