"Last week Sugar House was lucky enough to visit Valentine Distillery for a very unique tour showing off what makes Valentine so different, especially what differentiates them from other craft distilleries around the country. Rifino, the architect behind this empire, explained that Valentine started off as an idea on Wall Street to bring hard work and quality back into craft sprits. Too often he saw companies going public and losing what made them different from the rest. They put everything into the bottom line and not into the heart of the product. He wanted to create a product he could be proud of, something with dedication to the final product and not the paycheck.
It is not just the beginnings of Valentine that makes them different, it is the brain and experience of head distiller, Justin Aden. Justin knew what he wanted as a young kid studying yeast fermentation and the rest. That is what made him a perfect fit for the Artisan Distilling Program at MSU after graduation, where he met Rifino. After working together to get Valentine started, Justin spent some years working on various spirits projects around the country before coming back to Detroit to rejoin Rifino a few years ago. Justin has been able to apply his knowledge and intense study into each carefully crafted product.
After our science lecture we dove into tasting the current offerings and products currently in the works at the distillery. From their award winning vodka, to a rye aged in gin barrels, Valentine showed us what it really meant to put your heart into a product. Of course, this hit home for us at the Sugar House. We have been trying to perfect a craft and bring it to people looking for cocktails accompanied by great hospitality for over 5 years. That is exactly what we got while visiting Rifino, Justin, and the rest of the Valentine crew. We look forward to seeing what Valentine has to offer in the future and could not thank them enough for the knowledge and experience they shared."
- Jake Darmofal, aka Average Jake, aka Reggie
Check out this WhiskyCast episode featuring Rifino & Justin for a little more background!