Ferndale-based Valentine Distilling Co. commits $500K to sustainability

The craft spirit maker, which houses a live palm tree to increase carbon offset, will invest in equipment to recapture water and return used grains to farmers

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
Valentine Distilling Co.'s Mayor Pingree bourbon whiskey.

One of the largest craft distilleries in the country, Valentine Distilling Co. announced this week it would roll out a 10-year climate sustainability initiative.

The Ferndale-based company said it will invest around $500,000 into the project, which aims to save 4.75 million gallons of water over the next decade. 

“We have a goal to be a part of the solution, not a contributor to the problem,” said Founder & President of Valentine Distilling Co. Rifino Valentine in a press release. “We created this initiative because it’s the right thing to do. We want to inspire other businesses to join in this very important movement. This is an investment, not a cost-savings or tax-break for us. We are hopeful that in the near future that we will receive some government leadership in the area of climate sustainability to help us go even further.”

Part of the initiative includes the purchase of a piece of equipment that will recapture 95-98 percent of water lost during the distillation process, around 2,000 gallons a day. They’ll also return the grains they used in the distilling process back to the farmers for cattle feed. 

A custom-made, 1,500-gallon still inside Valentine Distilling Co.'s new Ferndale production facility.

To increase their carbon offset, Valentine’s production facility has adopted a live palm tree that thrives under it’s 45-foot-tall ceilings with natural light shining through. According to Valentine, the tree helps absorb the 30-40 pounds per year of carbon dioxide created during the booze-making process. 

This idea was inspired by Ferndale’s MBrew, a craft beer hangout located next door to Valentine’s Cocktail Lounge at 161 Vester. MBrew plans a palm tree in its front yard every summer and moves it to a warmer spot before winter hits. This past winter it was moved inside Valentine’s facility. 

“The palm tree is symbolic of our efforts and serves as an everyday reminder to what is important in Valentine’s role towards climate sustainability,” said Valentine in the release. 

Valentine products are sold at major stores like Meijer, Kroger and Costco. Best known for their vodka, the company also makes gold medal-winning Liberator Gin and Mayor Pingree whiskey.

Last spring the craft spirit company invested $1 million into the new, 20,000-square-foot production facility. This included a custom-made Italian still with a 1,500-gallon capacity, allowing Valentine to produce 10 times more spirits than before. 

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Twitter: @melodybaetens