Filed under: Mad Picks | Wine, Beer, & Spirits
Contributor: Jeffrey Mar, CSW | West Bloomfield Wine Team Leader
We asked Jeff what’s happening on the local scene in the beverage world. Here’s what he had to say:
Going local is no longer a trend; it is a way of life. Michigan has in recent years eased restrictions on small distillers and we are beginning to see the fruits of their labors on our shelves. New Holland Distillery in Holland, Michigan has been at the forefront of this craft-distilling movement and is keeping us busy trying to grab a case of their small-batch whiskeys. Rifino Valentine has found a home for Valentine Distillery in Ferndale, Michigan and has recently launched a fresh, citrusy Liberator gin, with plans to launch a whiskey in the next few months. Other small distilleries to watch for in Michigan – Journeyman in Three Oaks, Michigan is about to release a limited batch Ravenswood Organic Rye; Northern United Brewing, comprised of Jolly Pumpkin, Grizzly Peak and North Peak, has entered the scene this past year with their ‘Civilized’ line of spirits including Sakura cherry vodka and White Dog.
Overall, vodka still rules the market in Metro-Detroit with big international brands maintaining a strong presence on the liquor shelves. McClure’s Bloody Mary mix, from a local pickle packing family, has been a hot item this winter season.
Local Michigan breweries have been leading the charts in the beer department, with Kalamazoo based Bell’s Brewery topping that. Jolly Pumpkin, Founder’s and New Holland are in demand breweries, keeping the calendar filled with exciting release date schedules. Seasonals such as Bell’s Hopslam bring a flurry of anticipatory phone calls from local hop heads.
Look for brewers to release craft lagers, supplementing the hopped-up IPA’s and dark stouts that have been center-stage. Look for thirst-quenching, crisp and refreshing six-packs from craft brewers that won’t bust the bank or end-up in a basement collection.
Metro-Detroit has a love for wine, always has, and that love is growing! People are drinking wine every day with meals, bringing bottles to parties, and stocking their cellars with new vintages and styles. We are seeing huge turn-outs at casual and formal wine-tasting events and the growth of a savvy clientele that knows the basics and is looking for what to drink next!
Sticking to local is always a smart idea, and Michigan wines are on the rise. We are seeing a few new wineries enter the scene, and greater quality from established favorites like Blackstar Farms, L. Mawby, and Chateau Grand Traverse.
Big Little wines, loosely connected with Mawby, have brought us some fantastic new labels recently – the lush white blend, Mixtape has been the hit this winter; Verterra is producing a range of high-acid whites that we have recently noticed. Chateau Fontaine has completed a custom crush pad facility that has sent their wines over the top for quality and value.