[Slideshow] Detroit's Valentine Distilling Co.

Posted on: July 6th, 2012 by David Garber 6 Comments

Last week I spent a few days in the preservationist mecca of Detroit, Michigan. I'll touch on some of my other preservation-related visits on the blog next week, but first -- a photo tour of Valentine Distilling Co., a company we highlighted last year because of owner Rifino Valentine's decision to locate his business in an old building.

The exterior of the Valentine Distilling Co., which has had a number of auto and industrial uses over the past 80 years.

So, like any good reporter, I figured I should stop in for a follow-up -- mostly, I'll admit, because I thought it was a cool company in a cool building, and I wanted to learn more about the distilling process. When I got there, I was greeted by Rifino and his dog, Sherbet, both of whom led me on a tour of the building.

The last user of the c. 1928 one-story brick building was a pool table manufacturing company, so turning it into a distillery was kind of keeping it in the family. And although records of previous tenants are thin, there's evidence that the building was used as an automobile repair shop before that.

The building's industrial feel is carried into the interior decor. Even where walls didn't exist previously, Rifino was careful to use bricks, blocks, and windows salvaged from demolished Detroit buildings.

Check out the above slideshow for more of my tour through Valentine Distilling Co., and if they don't already, ask your local bars to consider stocking the preservation-friendly Valentine Vodka. Remember, preservation is just as much about keeping sustainable uses in old and historic buildings as much as it is the process of saving those places in the first place. Cheers!

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Revitalization, Slideshows, Travel

6 Responses

  1. Bruce Peterson

    July 6, 2012

    Is there a reason to Not tell us where they are located?

  2. Ryan Meray

    July 6, 2012

    They’re located in Ferndale, MI, one block north of Nine Mile and just East of Woodward.

  3. Melissa Kellogg

    July 7, 2012

    They are located at 161 Vester Street in Ferndale Michigan 48220.

  4. David Garber
    David Garber

    July 7, 2012

    Thank you for your comments about the exact location of the distillery! Although it is technically located in Ferndale, just one mile outside of the Detroit city limit, they market themselves nationally as a Detroit company, so we chose not to specify. Valentine Distilling Co. tried to open their business in the city of Detroit for over two years, but ended up locating just outside where liquor production laws and the local government were more supportive of their business.

  5. Regina Kuper

    July 8, 2012

    “Preservation Mecca”, Detroit? You’re not serious. We’re letting our wonderful abandoned buildings rot and be scrapped more than ever before and demolshing many significant buildings. Maybe you’re talking about the inner suburbs. Valentine Distilling co. is fabulous, but look around the City. Mecca is not right word to use.

  6. M

    July 12, 2012

    @Regina: I think “preservationist mecca” is appropriate, being a michigander and a preservationist, because mecca implies something people yearn for and travel to. So Detroit is not a city we should look to as a shining example of perfect preservation policies, but in terms of having a plethora of (underutilized) historic resources that many across the country want to see and experience, it’s pretty high up there.