Grand Traverse Distillery is proud to be Michigan’s oldest micro-distillery operating since 2007. Our Lineup of Spirits celebrates the natural gifts abundant to Michigan’s 45th parallel, home to the United States finest cherry industry and award winning wine producers. The finest rye in the world is grown north of the 45th parallel and our rye is grown right here in Northern Michigan by Send Brother’s Farm. Using crystal clear glacial waters and high quality rye, wheat and corn make the 45th parallel an ideal location to distill our spirits.
Located in Traverse City, Michigan, the Grand Traverse Distillery is the vision of Kent Rabish, a Michigan native. After visiting micro-distilleries on the West Coast, Kent saw the opportunity to bring hand crafted spirits to Michigan. Across the country a renaissance is taking place in the distilling industry. Small craft distillers are bringing back hand made, high quality spirits using fresh locally grown ingredients. Because of his Polish heritage, Kent has always appreciated a high quality spirit and he has decided to share his passion with the rest of us.
Hand crafting spirits is not a new idea; distillation of grain has existed since at least the fifteenth century. In what is now Poland, monks began distilling grains in the fifteenth century. Prior to prohibition, America had a strong tradition of family owned local distilleries, each with a local character. Beginning in the early 1990’s, micro brewing became popular in America. It is with this history in mind that micro distilleries are beginning to make a comeback.
After years of research, Rabish decided to purchase a 16 plate, 1200 liter reflux still from Arnold Holstein in Germany. Craft distillation is about quality, not quantity. Using world class rye grown in the TC area and pure glacial waters, our distiller strives for quality. Nothing is more important. Craft distillation means hand made one small batch at a time. The distiller decides when to make the cuts, from heads to the heart of the run and from the heart to the tails. These cuts are made not based on technology or automated instruments but to the taste and aromas as determined by a single person, our distiller. The result is the elimination of undesirable characteristics that can produce a harsh spirit. No automated equipment can do the task better than the individual. We decide every day the characteristics of our spirits using our senses, one small batch at a time.