Journeyman Distillery
Distillery
Founded in 2011
Bill Welter was in the family banking business in Valparaiso, Indiana. But when the family decided to sell the family business, Bill went and lived in Scotland for a few years and developed an interest in distilling.

When he returned home he moved just across the state line, 40 miles away to Three Oaks, Michigan — because of the friendlier distillation laws — and opened the doors of Journeyman Distillery on Oct. 7th, 2011.

They’re producing small batch, organic spirits at the old Featherbone factory. Even though the company is fairly new, the facility is old — from the 130-year-old maplewood floor boards of the factory to the gleaming high-copper content still.

The factory itself was originally a factory built in 1883 for making “corsets and buggy-whips.” Today they have no less than nineteen products ranging from a variety of Whiskies to Rums Vodkas, Gins, and a handful of specialty spirits.

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Distillery Details

  • Country
    United States
  • Established
    2011
  • Owner
    Independent
  • Visitor Center
    Yes
  • Status
    Active
  • Address
    109 Generation Dr, Three Oaks, MI 49128
  • Phone
    (269) 820-2050
  • Website
Dog Dogson
Dog Dogson's
Smartass
Corner
The original owner of the Featherbone factory was a man named E. K. Warren. In addition to making two products (now used in economics classes as the very definition of declining products) — buggy-whips and corsets — Mr. Warren was a die-hard abolitionist.
Video from Journeyman Distillery
Video transcription
My name's Bill Welter and we opened Journeyman Distillery October 7th of 2011. Journeyman Distillery is an organic distillery, we're certified organic by an organization in Wisconsin called MOSA. It was an easy decision for me when we were looking at how we wanted to open the distillery. I'm someone who's focused on organics, on supporting this idea of a higher-quality product, and that's a big part of the decision, but secondly, it's really an effort to support organic growers. We've got grains coming in throughout the Midwest from organic farmers, and you know, in a given week, we'll use close to 5,000 pounds of grain each week. So that's our way of supporting the idea and really helping to progress this organic movement.

Producing Small Batch Whiskey is something that...in the course of a day, we'll produce about 12 gallons of Whiskey and it generally takes about 10 to 12 hours to distill that. And you know, it's not a lot of Whiskey, it's small batch, it's high quality, and it's a real labor of love.

You know, I think in a lot of ways, actually creating something is becoming a lost art in itself, especially in a lot of respects. In America, on a small scale, one of the exciting things about making Whiskey here in Three Oaks, we're actually making a product with our hands and that's really exciting for me. And that's one of the biggest attractions for me about starting this business was, I wanted to be able to actually physically make something and put our label on it, and at the end of the day, you know, walk out the door and be proud of what we've made.

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