For Merrill, the journey started in the early 2000’s, when he was first exposed to craft alcohol at his father’s winery in Washington state. He was only there for a few years before returning to Kalamazoo, but in 2011, he went back on a few trips, when he learned to ferment that wine and transform it into brandy. He was captivated. “You know, when you walk into a distillery and the tanks are fermenting and the still’s running, it’s the smells that really grabbed me,” Merrill says. “It’s like walking into the best bread bakery you’ve ever smelled. The big copper still in the corner, all of the aspects of it. It’s an awesome place to spend your day.
The path to opening a distillery can take many twists and turns. Just ask Nic and Joanna Merrill…The husband and wife duo say they’ve been welcomed with open arms by the distilling community nationwide, as many companies have taken them in, shown them their operations and helped them understand the business–especially what not to do.