US whiskey maker Traverse City Whiskey Co. has started building a new distillery to expand production and help meet “increasing demand” for its products.
The family-owned company is constructing a facility in Traverse City, Michigan, where it already has a production site. It said “rapid growth” had led to the business outsourcing some output to distillers outside the state.
Slated to open for production in early 2024 and to the public several months later, the 70,000-square-foot distillery campus will include end-to-end production, from growing grain to fermentation and distillation, as well as a visitor centre and tasting room. It will be Michigan’s largest distillery, Traverse City Whiskey Co. said.
The facility will also be able to support other Michigan distillers in need of extra production capacity for their own growing brands, the company added.
Traverse City Whiskey Co.’s products are available to buy via a branded website and in on- and off-premise accounts primarily located in bars and retailers. It caters to 31 states. Co-founder and president Chris Fredrickson told Just Drinks “the ultimate goal is national distribution” but said the company does not have a timetable to meet this target.
Fredrickson added the distiller also has ambitions to sell outside the US but insisted the company’s “main focus is on selling the product and promoting the brand right here in the USA”.
However, he predicted that, if Traverse City Whiskey Co. was to move to international distribution, a food product – the company’s Premium Cocktail Cherries – would likely be the first launch outside its home market.
The new distillery is also set to feature indoor and outdoor hospitality spaces available for hire. When asked about the potential for events, Fredrickson said: “We’re excited to celebrate our rural landscape and our new state-of-the-art facility by opening it up to our guests for events to create a memorable ‘up-north’ experience.”
The new distillery is set to create approximately 100 new jobs for the surrounding community, including in production, maintenance and events, Traverse City Whiskey Co. says.
A number of major, multinational spirits groups have also invested in US whiskey and Bourbon in the last 12 months. In December, Pernod Ricard set out plans to build a distillery for US whiskey brand Jefferson’s Bourbon.
In October, Campari bought 70% of Kentucky’s Wilderness Trail Distillery. At the time, the Italian group’s CEO told Just Drinks the deal would help US whisky be “the second leg for our company”.
In July, Beam Suntory said it would invest more than US$400m at its Booker Noe Distillery, also in the US state of Kentucky.
That month, E&J Gallo Winery also announced a “strategic investment” in small-batch American whiskey maker Horse Soldier Bourbon.