Major Growth of Micro-distilleries

There has been a recent surge of micro-distilleries (re)opening up in metro Detroit.  Most recently, Detroit City Distillery opened its doors to the public late summer 2014 in the Eastern Market.  Their popularity does not mean that any and everybody can just start selling whiskey or vodka to the general public.  There are several legal steps that need to be crossed before pouring one up.  


The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau agency issues distilled spirits plants permits to operate micro-distilleries.  The necessary paperwork for this permit must be completed after a physical location is determined and equipment is purchased.  Also you will likely manufacture, process, and pack/hold your alcohol for U.S. consumption, therefore you will also need to register with the Food and Drug Administration.  Another thing to note is that extensive background checks are perfumed prior to issuance.

State of Michigan:

The "boom" started after the 2008 revision to the state liquor law, which created special provision(s) for micro-distilleries: 

  • the annual license cost for a micro-distillery was lowered from $10,000 to $100,
  • allowed producers to make up to 60,000 gallons of alcohol annually,
  • operators may have wine, brewery, and distillery licenses on the same site,
  • have a tasting room, on the premises, where free samples can be offered plus cocktails and bottles at retail, and
  • use any raw materials to make their product.

Regardless of the legal "red tape," opening a distillery has proven to be a wonderful opportunity for entrepreneurs, local grain farmers, and aficianados.