To mark its sixth year in business, Iron Fish Distillery in Thompsonville, southwest of Traverse City, is introducing the Mad Angler brand of estate whiskeys and will triple production capacity for its estate whiskeys with an investment of around $900,000 in new equipment and facility upgrades.
Since 2015, Iron Fish has grown and harvested grain on its farm, as well as purchased grain from Michigan farmers to distill spirits and age whiskey. While waiting for its estate whiskeys to age, Iron Fish distilled vodka and gin from Michigan grain, and also sourced whiskey for its line of barrel finished whiskeys, created and aged in three-barrel rack houses on the farm.
Iron Fish Distillery says it is Michigan’s first farm distillery, and annually draws more than 125,000 people to its agricultural operations. Named for the Steelhead, Iron Fish is situated on the Betsie River, where it operates a third party environmentally verified farm through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.
Investment to expand production of estate spirits will increase the amount of grain Iron Fish will purchase from Michigan farms to 725,000 pounds annually, increasing the number of growers supplying Iron Fish from six to 10 farms, including Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where rye grain has been sourced since 2015.
New distillery production equipment is on order and is scheduled to be operational in early 2023. Private investment and bank financing was supplemented with a loan from the Manistee Area of Commerce EDC and a $55,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture.
Iron Fish spirits are distributed in Michigan, Wisconsin, and home delivered in 40 states by the digital spirits retailer Spirit Hub. Iron Fish is expanding distribution to Colorado and California in September, and Illinois and Indiana later this fall.
In related news, Original Murdick’s Fudge on Mackinac Island announced a collaboration with Iron Fish for its new Maple Bourbon Fudge, which will be available to purchase on Sept. 1.
“We love working with local Michigan businesses like Iron Fish, we couldn’t be happier to team up and make an exceptional fudge flavor with them,” says Bobby Besner, owner and operator of Murdick’s. “I can’t wait for folks to taste it.”
Original Murdick’s Fudge has been serving up fresh fudge, made each day in its historic white clapboard fudge shop, for 135 years. Original Murdick’s Fudge is made from sugar, butter, cream, and other ingredients.
Each batch of Original Murdick’s Fudge starts in a copper kettle and is created with attention to indoor, outdoor, and marble countertop temperatures, and the length of time and temperature required for cooking, boiling, stirring, cooling, and shaping.
The art of fudge making at Murdick’s also requires skilled professionals to perform a specific and timely turn-of-the-wrist “paddling” technique when shaping the delectable fudge into loaves.