The Michigan Craft Distillers Association (#MiSpirits) has just published 20,000 copies of its 2016-2017 map and directory, featuring 24 member craft distillers (with 37 tasting room locations) and four “in planning” distillery members, along with 45 allied members and service providers. The expanded four-panel, four-color piece will be distributed at member distilleries, state tourism offices, welcome centers, retail outlets and other locations around Michigan. A PDF version of the map is also available online at MiCraftSpirits.com.
As with any craft or “local” product, educating the consumer is vital. With the growth of the industry comes operations that produce spirits on various levels. The association has established its own definition of a “craft” vs. a “merchant” distiller to help identify operations that actually distill spirits in Michigan.
CRAFT DISTILLER: a distilling organization or brand that produces a distilled product at a facility in Michigan. The Michigan distillery must hold Federal Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) and Michigan Small Distillers Licenses. And at least 51% of the products produced are fermented and distilled on the licensed premises.
MERCHANT DISTILLER: holds Federal Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) and Michigan Small Distillers Licenses and acts as an independent rectifier, blender or bottler on the licensed premises. “Merchant” producers purchase their spirits from a larger distillery, often in bulk quantities, and sell it under their own label.
DISTILLERY IN PLANNING: a craft distillery in the process of establishing Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) and Michigan Small Distillers Licenses, which adheres to all of the requirements as outlined for a “Craft Distiller.”
And what about the labels on the spirit bottles? How can you tell if the products were actually made in Michigan? While there a variety of descriptions that can be printed on a label, including, “bottled in,” “distilled in,” “manufactured in,” “produced in,” “aged in” or any combination of those terms, if it reads anything other than “distilled” — at least in whiskey — it wasn’t made by the company.
The Michigan Craft Distillers Association was formed in 2014 to organize the growing number of small-batch spirit producers in the state, serving as a united voice on legislative, promotional and business issues.