Detroit sees 1st distillery since prohibition

Two James distillery moves into Corktown on Michigan Avenue

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

DETROIT - Detroit now has its first distillery since prohibition.

So, who invests everything into a derelict building to create a modern craft distillery in a town that's declared Chapter 9 bankruptcy?

Peter Bailey, that's who.

Bailey and his partner could have opened Two James distillery anywhere, but they chose to invest here, in Detroit.

Two James is located in Corktown and it's the first licensed distillery in Detroit since Prohibition.

"Detroit was ideal for us from the get go when we were contemplating a lot of places to go. One, because we knew it had a manufacturing base and here we are with Light Manufacturing. Two, the state, with its very big hand in agriculture offers us great feed stock for our operations and the people here have always been incredibly optimistic and friendly, creative, industrious and that's why we do it," said Baily. "I've lived a lot of places and the people here are what make this town."

Baily has succeeded in resurrecting the Grass Widow Bourbon name, a name not seen here since before prohibition. The distillery also boasts hand crafted vodka, gin, bourbon, and malt whiskey.

Bailey says he'd like the president to know there are things that would help put this town back on its feet and bring business back in a big way.

"Investment in infrastructure, there is every indication Detroit is suffering in that regards, partial because it's an urban planning issue, obviously it's a dynamic issue and there is no panacea," he said.

Two James is located on 2445 Michigan Avenue.

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