The tasting room for Red Cedar Spirits in East Lansing opened recently; the micro-distillery began production last July inside a 45,000-square-foot building that used to be East Lansing Public Works Building.
Building owner Kris Berglund, university distinguished professor of food science and chemical engineer at Michigan State University, partnered with Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns to create Red Cedar Spirits. He’s the authorized representative of Red Cedar Spirits and the managing partner of Artisan Distilling Co., which manages Red Cedar Spirits for Uncle John’s owner Mike Beck.
Confused? Well it gets better: In the same building, Berglund also owns Working Bugs, a 6-yearold bio-based chemical company that he runs with his wife. The company makes all-natural products, including hand sanitizers and salt substitutes.
He owns some of the equipment; Michigan State University owns the rest. Red Cedar Spirits manufactures whiskey, bourbon, vodka, gin and rum. You can by individual drinks or whole bottles in the tasting area, which has a capacity of 47, including a 24-seat bar. Food is limited to selections from the MSU Dairy, including its line of gourmet cheeses.
“We’re kind of slow now, but once the weather starts getting better, I expect we’re going to be pretty busy,” Berglund said.
In other booze news …
Sleepwalker Spirits and Ale was unanimously approved for a microbrewer license this week. Co-founders Matt Jason and Jeremy Sprague plan to open a taproom inside the Allen Market Place this summer where patrons can fill growlers and kegs to go. The community-owned brewery and distillery hopes to expand with a full-size brewery and distillery. For now, the taproom will be open for 12 to 15 hours a week at 1629 E. Kalamazoo St. on Lansing’s east side.
Soup Spoon expanding
Two weeks ago the Soup Spoon Café began its expansion into the final non-Soup Spoon section of the building, recently vacated by Bancroft Flowers, which is moving down the street (more info on that move next week). Soup Spoon owner/operator Nick Gavriledes said the expansion will take about three or four weeks and will include mostly interior work, which includes a kitchen enlargement to accommodate catering requests and a separate dining room.
“(The expansion) will allow us to book private parties to about 40-plus,” Gavriledes said. “We’ll also be able to add some more jobs, including three immediately with the new catering kitchen.”
The new space is about 1,000 square feet. Gavriledes expanded two years ago when he got the liquor license. He’s also the owner of the building, and rents the office space upstairs as well. Now that he has the whole bottom floor, the positives have already started manifesting themselves.
“The increase in parking has been great,” he said. “It’s funny how just a little more space can make a difference.”
Red Cedar Spirits 2000 Merritt Road, East Lansing 4-8 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 1-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; closed Monday-Tuesday (517) 908-9950 facebook.com/ redcedarspirits