Made in Michigan: Valentine Distilling Co.
(04/02/19) -- What's in a name? When it comes to your favorite cocktail, many people recognize or even drink top shelf brands like Ketel One, Grey Goose, or Skyy among many others.
But a metro-Detroit company is making a name for itself, winning several different awards, with a focus on quality.
That company is Valentine Distilling Co. in Ferndale.
For Rifino Valentine, who owns the company, it's all about quality over quantity.
"I'm a consumer at the end of the day, and I really felt that I was getting short changed," Valentine said.
Short changed, as in the quality of alcohol he'd consume.
"This was really kind of an effort to, let's go back to putting the product first and show that we can still be successful, profitable and all the other things that you need," he said.
So he started Valentine Distilling Company. And all the magic is done inside an old factory building. That's where 4 different kinds of bourbon, two kinds of gin and what they're mostly known for, two kinds of vodka are made.
"We make a vodka that won the world championship out of London two years in a row, the bourbons that we just released are some of the highest rated bourbons in the world."
As far as how the vodka is made, it all starts with a grain.
"Corn, wheat, barley or rye. We will sacrify those grains or mash those grains, so we'll take the starches in those grains and we'll cook them in order to convert those into sugars."
Then those sugars and the yeast go to work, which will ultimately make alcohol.
"Then we take that grain soup that has alcohol in it, and we'll introduce it into one of our two stills."
Valentine says the alcohol is then brought to a boil in the stills, and when that's done, you're left with 95 percent alcohol.
It's diluted back down to drinking strength, then it's bottled, labeled and boxed for shipping.
"It's a simple process in theory, but to make good spirits there's a lot of science behind it."
And Valentine knows that science very well.
"My favorite thing is reintroducing consumers to quality."
And that quality can be found at your neighborhood liquor store, Kroger, Meijer and other retailers.
"We're not a local distillery. We're actually a world recognized distillery that happens to be located where you live."
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