TRAVERSE CITY — The Rubin family’s history of barrel-making started in 1902 when Grandpa Charley started the original family company: Detroit Beer Barrel.
Four generations of Rubins diversified into three companies: Maxi Container, Inc., making industrial plastic and fiber barrels; Mi Rain Barrel, making barrels to catch rain water; and most recently Mi Wine Barrel, making stainless steel barrels for fermenting wine.
“It’s like a return to our roots,” Joshua Rubin, marketing director for Mi Wine Barrel, said.
Rubin showed off his barrels with an exhibit at the annual Michigan Grape and Wine Conference at the Grand Traverse Resort, where he was one of many companies displaying winemaking products to Michigan wine makers and viticulturalists, or grape growers.
The conference is hosted by the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and runs through Friday. It’s an opportunity for wine makers and viticulturalists to taste wines, learn about the managing vines during this cold winter season, collect marketing tips and to tour local wineries.
Karel Bush is the promotion specialist for the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. She said the investments wineries have made in their businesses are promising for the state industry.
“Every year we see growth in sales, and also in buildings and facilities,” Bush said. “They’re expanding cellars and production is increasing.”