KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan is well known for its big beer business and small-batch breweries, but one Kalamazoo man decided to buck that trend when he opened the city’s first distillery in nearly 160 years.
Before Green Door Distilling Co. opened two years ago, you’d have to go back before the Civil War to find a distillery in Kalamazoo.
“We’re the first distillery since 1858, so when we opened that was 158 years,” said Jon Good, the owner and head distiller at Green Door Distilling Co.
His distillery only makes and serves spirits.
“I felt that a lot of people have done a lot of great things in the beer community and I didn’t have a whole lot to contribute,” Good said. “There’s phenomenal, award-winning beers produced in West Michigan and phenomenal unique things, and I decided that no one was really doing that with spirits.”
Green Door is what’s known as a grain-to-glass distillery because all of the production is done under one roof in Kalamazoo.
“In the 1800s, Kalamazoo had four distilleries, so we have a very rich distilling history here in Kalamazoo and I really want to kind of revive that,” Good explained.
Good earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Western Michigan University. After working in the corporate world for a few years, he decided to try something different.
“It really started just like any hobby,” he said.
That hobby earned some hardware. He recently won a silver medal from the American Distilling Institute for Green Door’s Get Lost Vodka.
“First award-winning vodka from Kalamazoo. And from my research, it’s the first award-winning spirit from Kalamazoo as well,” Good said.