Today is the very first day that I can legally distill in Michigan. Sadly there is nothing tasty coming off the
parrot just yet, as there is a lot of prep work yet to do. However, the important thing is, I now can, and will be very soon producing delicious imbibery to infuse into the masses (or at least those willing to spend some time at the tasting room). The journey has been a seriously harrowing one these last few years, but now the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel is shining on my face, and I could not be more excited.
It’s the first real day at my office, and I am working to speedily write this entry before the end of my CIP cycle. I could not be more thrilled to be so busy, and I am really looking forward to the next six months, fully knowing that commodities like sleeping and eating will probably be at a shortage for me, a small price to feed my soul. I know in my heart this is what I was meant to do, even though when people ask “how does one become a distiller”, I still can’t give them a straight answer. The journey to this point has been a strange and winding one, and days like today when skills I learned in my previous careers as a
dental receptionist, administrative assistant, a waitress, and a nurse ...seemingly unrelated industries... come in to play, I am not surprised as I believe all of these things (even the bad ones) were meant to prepare me for exactly where I am. My sister told me today to “have fun, scientist”. I suppose that’s
what I am now, and as I listen to the hum of my centrifugal pump and the noise of continued construction on the building in the background I can’t help but smile and think, my first day at the office is a good one.
We are so close. Last week we got our final inspection on the production facility from the MLCC (Michigan Liquor Control Commission). The spirit House is almost complete, and it looks amazing. Approximately 80% of the material in the Spirit House is reclaimed from Northern Michigan. 100% of our grain, fruit, herbs and botanicals are derived from Northern Michigan in our spirits, however we settled for a few new items in the tasting room. Toilets? Yes, they are new.
The corrugated metal on the ceiling is from a 1900s chicken coop in Antrim County, the barn wood on the exterior and interior is from Emmet, Grand Traverse, and Antrim counties. The hand hewn and rough-cut barn beams used for the bar and cocktail tables are also from various barns in Emmet, Grand Traverse and Antrim Counties. It is so cool, and we can’t wait to share it with all of you. The spirit house has so much character and soul. Each piece has a story, and a beautiful setting to tell it- and stories are best told over a glass of Ethanolo¿y.
Although the fit and finish of the Spirit House is beautiful and unique, it is not what is important to Geri and I. The setting is secondary. The spirit is primary. How it was made and where the grain, fruit or botanical was sourced- this our focus. It is what is inside the bottle. That is Ethanolo¿y.
With a little luck and cattle prodding to our contractors we should be firing up Tilda (our 500L custom 8 plate copper still) next week. It has been a long journey. Yet, a beautiful one. The 14hr days are becoming normal. Yes, I said working 14hrs a day now seems normal. The work is paying off, and our dream to craft an exemplary spirit sourced from local farms is beginning to come to fruition. We now have a working distillery!
We will see you in May!
This blog is our journey. Distilled.