Valentine Detroit Distilling Co.

Country of Origin: USA
Location: Detroit, Michigan
People: Rifino Valentine, Owner & Master Distiller | Justin Aden, Head Distiller


Valentine Detroit Distilling Co. 'White Blossom' Elderflower Vodka (70 proof) Login BTI 92 In Stock
Valentine Detroit Distilling Co. Vodka (80 proof) Login In Stock
Valentine Detroit Distilling Co. 'Mayor Pingree' Bourbon (90 proof) Login In Stock
Valentine Detroit Distilling Co. 'Liberator' Gin (84 proof) Login BTI 91 In Stock
Valentine Detroit Distilling Co. 'Liberator' Old Tom Gin (90.4 proof) Login BTI 93 In Stock

Media Links
The Alcohol Professor: Made in Michigan: Valentine Distilling Co.
Hour Detroit: Spirited Competition: Valentine Distilling Still Challenging Upscale Vodka Imports
Thrillist: Fresh Booze from the Ferndale Distillery
Crain's: Spirits Boom: Local Microdistillers benefit from law changes, thirsty buyers Detroit Has Some New Spirit in Valentine Vodka Meet the Maker: Rifino Valentine
MetroMode: A Conversation with Valentine Vodka's Rifino Valentine
Eater Detroit: Valentine Vodka Expanding Distilling Operations in Ferndale Valentine Distilling Wins World's Best Vodka

Social Media
Instagram: @valdistill
Twitter: @valdistilll
Valentine Distilling Co. Facebook

Rifino Valentine, the man behind Valentine Distilling Co. and a native to Leelanau County, is on a mission to bring back quality American manufacturing. While working in New York City on Wall Street, he saw first hand what he calls the “corporatization” of America. Giant companies are beholden to profits, and therefore try to do everything the fastest and cheapest way in an attempt to maximize shareholder earnings. What is lost is the quality in goods. What is lost is the handmade aspect. Valentine opened Valentine Distilling Co. as the antidote for this decline and as a fight back against mass-produced spirits.

Valentine’s mission is to produce the highest quality spirits on a small scale that are made and bottled by hand and are still capable of competing with international spirits. "I have a simple philosophy: everything that I do must be done with quality in mind above all else, the way it was meant to be done. I’ve always appreciated the American craftsman; working by hand, making one of kind items that stand the test of time. In distillation, this means selecting the best ingredients, distilling in small batches, and taking care in every single step of the process. I take great pride in using old world techniques, techniques that haven’t changed in centuries. There are no computers controlling the stills, just my sense of taste and smell to determine the cuts."

Why spirits? The idea of starting a distillery occurred about 10 years ago. As a young trader on Wall Street, Rifino loved his dirty martinis. “I would tell bartenders give me your best dirty,” he says. He noticed the vodka was always imported. “Why can’t we make world-class vodka in the U.S.?” he wondered. He moved to Michigan to learn about artisan distilling at Michigan State University. MSU is the only public university in the country to runs an artisan distillery program.

With only a dozen or so micro-distilleries in the country in 2007 (now there are over 400), Valentine opened his Detroit-based, artisan distilling company (the area’s first since Prohibition). With all of the news surrounding Detroit and its bankruptcy, the Motor City was a natural choice for Valentine. After all, Detroit is a poster child for U.S. manufacturing. The first bottle of vodka went into distribution in February 2008.


  • Valentine Distilling Co. 'Liberator' Old Tom Gin (90.4 proof)
    Beverage Testing Institute
    Rating: 93 (3/25/2015)

    Gold Medal. Bright amber color. Bright, fruity, spicy aromas of spicy carrot cake, cedar forest, sassafras, and mixed peppercorns with a satiny, vibrant, dryish medium-to-full body and a warming, complex, medium-length cinnamon roll, nutmeg, and cream finish with moderate oak. An attractive hybrid of a fruity, spicy gin and an American whisky; this will be fun to experiment with.
  • Valentine Distilling Co. 'Liberator' Gin (84 proof)
    Beverage Testing Institute
    Rating: 91 (3/31/2015)

    Gold Medal. Clear color. Lively, spicy, fruity aromas of cinnamon carrot cake, orange custard, spiced apples, and floral herbs with a supple, crisp, fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, elegant, medium-long juniper jelly, white pepper, honeyed tea, and menthol and chalk finish. A fun, flavorful gin with a focus on cinnamon and spice.
  • Valentine Distilling Co. 'White Blossom' Elderflower Vodka (70 proof)
    Beverage Testing Institute
    Rating: 92 (10/26/2012)

    Gold Medal. Clear. Rich tropical fruit salad aromas and flavors of lychee, cling peach, and elderflower with a satiny, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, peppery spice, cream, powdered sugar, and mineral finish. An expertly balanced and very flavorful vodka.