Handcrafted: from grain to glass

The team at a Holland, Michigan distillery has a passion for building fine quality spirits from local ingredients.

At Coppercraft Distillery creating premium small-batch spirits and signature cocktails is truly a work of art, from grains to glass.

Long before a classically-inspired cocktail is poured into a chilled glass over a repurposed wood counter, the team at Coppercraft Distillery has put careful time and consideration into every step of the process.

From the selection of locally-sourced ingredients of wheat, corn, and rye from Zeeland-based Boersen Farms; to allowing the mash to distill and mature over time in a copper still; Coppercraft Distillery’s team has a passion to create spirits with robust flavor and character.

Kim Catton, co-founder and sales director at Coppercraft, said distilling is truly a craft and the cocktails use simple ingredients that don’t hide the true essence of the spirit.

GLBD_CoppercraftV_0715“Some of it is taking the classic recipes and putting a little bit of a twist on it based on what is going on in the agriculture and food scene,” said Catton in reference to the inspiration behind the signature drinks.

Coppercraft Distillery was founded by the husband-and-wife team of Walter and Kim Catton back in 2012 in the former Belden Brick and Supply Company facility at 184 120th Ave. in Holland, Michigan. While the distillery began production in 2013 with a focus on aged products such as corn, high wheat, and rye malt whiskey; Coppercraft now produces traditional spirits as well including the small-batch Genever, rum, gin, vodka, citrus vodka, and an applejack brandy that drinks like a whiskey.

Coppercraft’s gin was created with approximately 13 different herbs such as juniper, orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pine; and its citrus flavored vodka brings hints of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit to the palate; while the award-winning rye malt whiskey has notes of dried cocoa and peppercorn.

Once it is ready to be tasted and savored, Coppercraft focuses on adding its own twist to beverages and bring out different flavors that are complementary to the base spirit. Not only does the distillery make its own ginger beer, bitters, and vermouth in-house, but also uses fresh fruit and locally-grown herbs to make the drink unique.

“I would have to say my personal favorite is the Manhattan mainly because the rye malt is excellent, the home-made vermouth, and the Michigan cherries are pitted on-site, cooked down in an applejack-rum concoction, and aged ourselves,” said Catton. “It truly brings in the full flavors and the essence of what we do there.”

One of Coppercraft’s more popular cocktails with guests is known as Dunegrass, which adds Lemongrass simple syrup, half a slice of an orange peel, and lemon juice to citrus-flavored vodka. The cocktail is then garnished with a lemon peel, culminating in a refreshing and sweet citrus-inspired drink.

Another unique recipe combines bourbon, port, and coffee liqueur with simple syrup, a whole egg, and a coffee bean garnish to create the smooth Whiskey In The Morning cocktail.

“We will highlight a lot of our applejack as we come into the fall season, and the fruits and flavors throughout the year that inspire the cocktails we showcase,” said Catton.

For the third consecutive year, Coppercraft showcased one of its products during the Tulip Time Festival in Holland as the official spirit. This year the distillery had selected its rum, which incorporates nearly 30 percent of evaporated cane juice, according to Catton.

“We invited 13 different establishments to come up with the Copper Blossom themselves that fits with their atmosphere, their food, and their bars that use Coppercraft Rum,” said Catton.

The Copper Blossom, the official 2016 Tulip Time Cocktail, was crafted by Coppercraft’s resident mixologist Forrest Dodson, who was inspired by the thought of warmer weather on a wintry Michigan day. The recipe blends rum, orange juice, falernum, and house bitters before being topped with in-house ginger beer and garnished with an orange peel.

While sipping on handcrafted cocktails in a tasting room accented with re-purposed wood and caramel-colored metal chairs, visitors have a perfect view of the distillery’s 350 gallon-Vendome copper finishing still and the larger 800 gallon stripping still in an industrial, yet intimate copper-hued ambiance.

As with every decision made during the distillation and mixology process, the aesthetic design, copper roof entrance, and layout of the building was done with careful consideration to form a handcrafted Coppercraft experience for patrons.


Related: The Mixing Glass

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