The state’s largest and oldest micro-distillery is building a buzz for all the right reasons. The company exists at the intersection of skilled craft and inspired art. It’s a process that can’t be rushed or forced or faked.
Grand Traverse Distillery makes spirits the old fashioned way, beginning with only fresh, locally grown grains by Send Brothers farm. Those grains are milled onsite and distilled right in the kettle in small batches using a German 16 plate, 1200-liter reflux still. Liquid is later transferred to new, heavily-charred, American-made white oak barrels. Once the barrels are racked, Mother Time and Mother Nature take over.
This grain-to-bottle approach to making vodka, whiskey, gin and rye is one-way GT Distillery has reclaimed the art and heritage of small town, craft distilling. This is the way it used to be before prohibition and before large corporations mass produced spirits using methods that striped the industry of flavor.
The rich agriculture of this area, as well as the crisp climate and clean glacial waters of the nearby Great Lakes play a big role in producing these award winning beverages. The other star is owner Kent Radish. Instead of relying on automated equipment, this human distiller uses his senses to make conscious decisions to perfect smooth, never harsh spirits.
Doing things the right way has paid off. GT Distillery now has five tasting rooms throughout the state. In Traverse City, customers can visit the original location and tour the working production facility. And the spacious downtown tasting room is a popular place to socialize and lounge. You can order cocktails made from GTD spirits or do a tasting, and leave with an ultra-cool souvenir shot glass.
It’s no wonder why Grand Traverse Distillery has produced so many award winning spirits. The purity can’t be beat and the flavor is undeniable…all because the craft is world class!
What's Up Recommendation
Reach for the award-winningTrue North Wheat Vodka, with 40% alc/vol. It goes through 37 distillations to highlight the natural flavor of the locally grown wheat. This ultra-premium vodka, which starts with graham cracker notes and fades to a gentle mint finish, was the Gold Medal winner at the International Review of Spirits 2016. It makes an ideal gift.