Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

March 19, 2014

Glenn Puit: Seeding the local ag economy

TRAVERSE CITY — This spring is experiment time for Mark Moseler.

The proprietor of the 18-month-old Northern Latitudes Distillery in Leelanau County wants to make his alcohol with as many locally grown products as possible. That idea led Moseler to contact some Leelanau County farmers to see if they can cultivate a barley that meets Moseler’s high standards for his liquor.

“Slowly but surely I do as much as I possibly can with local Michigan products,” Moseler said. “My wheat vodka -- I get all my wheat from Michigan. My sugar beets I use are from Michigan. For my gin, it’s local botanicals.”

Grand Traverse Distillery, featured in our story today about high state taxes on liquor makers, is doing the same with local products. The business bought more than 1 million pounds of Michigan-grown grain to make its spirits.

“One hundred percent of the wheat, rye, and corn we use is grown on a farm about 10 miles from here,” said distillery founder Kent Rabish. “The only product I buy that’s not Michigan-grown is malted barley. I only need it for certain products.”

It’s a big deal, this trend among northern Michigan manufacturers who turn to local farms for product instead of importing. Craft beer makers, distillers, wineries, restaurants and food processors are leading the charge, fermenting a steady drip of commerce that trickles from one business to another. Consider:

Hops -- The crop used to flavor and stabilize beer is in increasing demand in the Grand Traverse region, given the explosion of craft brewers in the Traverse City area. Empire Orchards Hops Farm in Leelanau County installed infrastructure to grow and manage a combined 118 acres of hops off Frederickson Road. The growth in hops also helps other businesses climb into the market. Brian Tennis operates the Michigan Hops Alliance, which is seeing a spike in demand for hops processing. The Hops Alliance is the first occupant of a new food innovation hub located in the former Glacier Dome at 1610 Barlow St. in Traverse City.

Text Only

Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl Swim Daily, Nina Agdal in the Cook Islands Guilty Dog Apologizes to Baby for Stealing Her Toy