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Iron Fish Distillery Reveals “Copper Queen” Whiskey

Michigan Business Beat
June 15, 2019 3:00 PM

IFDJeffrey Mosher welcomed Richard Anderson to the Lansing studio, from Thompsonville, Michigan, Partner at Iron Fish Distillery. His distillery has recently revived a 105 year old whiskey brand once served in Upper Peninsula’s historic Copper Country.

It's Michigan’s first farm based distillery is resurrecting a piece of Keweenaw Peninsula history to sipping glasses throughout Michigan with the launch of the stunning new Copper Queen Whiskey.

To hear Richard and Jeffrey's conversation, press play on the PodCast shared below.

During the rise of the mining copper boom, young Narisco Bianchi emigrated from Italy to Calumet, Michigan in 1897 and opened a successful saloon after working as a teamster for the Calumet Brewing Company. It was around 1914 that he launched Copper Queen, a “high grade” blended whiskey that was likely sourced and relabeled by Bianchi.


Soon miners throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula and in Red Jacket saloons were drinking Bianchi’s ‘Copper Queen’ Whiskey. Red Jacket became Calumet where the whiskey of those times nearly faded away due to prohibition, if not for local business owners Jerry and Sandy Michelle locating an original bottle and advocating for the reintroduction of this once treasured spirit. The award winning Iron Fish Distillery is rekindling Copper Queen™ Whiskey after more than 100 years.

“Starting with the sweetness of corn, the earthiness of malted barley and the fruity spice of rye, we carefully sourced and relabeled this timeless elixir, as a commemorative whiskey celebrating the splendor and heritage of Michigan’s Copper Country,”

There’s a chance you’ll get slightly lost on your journey to discover Michigan’s first farm distillery since prohibition. Located on a back road, 33 miles southeast of Traverse City, past hidden lakes and near Crystal Mountain Resort, you’ll discover a state-of-the-art distillery. The family run soil-to-spirit craft distillery grows grain to make spirits on an environmentally verified farm adjacent to the protected Betsie River watershed where Steelhead journey to their origin to spawn. Inspired by the Steelhead, Iron Fish returns distilling to its origin by transforming winter wheat and rye into internationally recognized and award-winning spirits on an 1880’s restored farm. Flour milled from grain grown on the farm for making spirit, also finds its way into a wood fired pizza oven. At Iron Fish Distillery you not only look across fields, you taste them!

Bartenders even get into the act, tending a cocktail garden to garnish farm fresh #IronFishCraftCocktails while Iron Fish partners with local orchards and farms to source additional grain, seasonal fruits, herbs, maple syrup and honey used for barrel aging and creating one of a kind mixed drinks.
Enjoy #IronFishLiveMusic throughout the summer and enjoy our new outdoor area complete with corn hole, fowling and croquet.

Awards: Michigan Woodland Gin: Cigar and Spirits Magazine Top 5 Gin’s in the World Michigan Winter Wheat Vodka: One of 7 Gold Medal winners in the World Vodka Awards for Varietal Vodka 2018 & 2019.

Reviews: Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Maple Syrup Barrels 4.5 Stars / 5 Stars Whisky Wash
Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Tawny Port Casks 4.5 Stars / 5 Stars Whisky Wash.

Dirt Road Derby: Each year, during the Kentucky Derby, Iron Fish hosts a community fundraiser that features a real horse race down their dirt road.

Weddings and Concerts: The restored, acoustically amazing history barn at Iron Fish is the perfect venue for weddings, corporate parties and family concerts.

Iron Fish Distillery is Michigan’s first working farm, growing and sourcing local grain to distill a full line of small-batch craft spirits on a reclaimed 1890’s farmstead. Iron Fish does this from the ground up with practices that respect the health of nearby watersheds. Inspired by the Steelhead Trout that journey each year to their origin in the nearby Betsie River, Iron Fish is returning spirit to its origin using heritage methods of distilling on an environmentally third party verified farm growing non GMO grain. Every step of the process is done by hand at the distillery.

To date, Iron Fish has won over 10 international and national awards for their spirits, and started distributing their products through Imperial Beverage to over 800 Michigan locations and in Illinois through Big Fish Spirits, a retailer delivering craft spirits to home and offices with their mobile app.

Find Iron Fish spirits near you: https://ironfishdistillery.com/where-to-buy/  

  • cornhole
  • croquet

Michigan Business Beat, hosted by Chris Holman, discusses economic development, new or unusual entrepreneurial initiatives, and successful business practices from different regions and industries around Michigan with a wide range of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

8:00 AM every Monday through Friday
Replay: 8:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 8:00 PM, 2:00 AM The music for 'Michigan Business Beat' is graciously shared use of Phil Denny's "Traffic Jam" off his 2012 CD 'Crossover'

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