Iron Shoe Distillery announces opening date, grand opening party

Published 10:35 am Monday, March 18, 2019

NILES — Community members have long awaited the opening of a new Niles distillery and restaurant. Late last week, the business owners announced that the wait would soon be over.

Howard and Laura Tuthill will open Iron Shoe Distillery from 3 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 10. A grand opening celebration will take place from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, April 12. Live music will be performed by Lexi Adams, an acoustic folk singer.

For roughly two years, Laura and Howard have been working on renovating the former muffler shop at 3 N. Third St. into a small batch distillery and restaurant.

“It’s been a long process, but we are really proud of everything we have built and all the work that we have done,” Laura said. “We are really excited to open the doors and finally let the community come in.”

At Iron Shoe Distillery, customers will be able to enjoy a variety of spirits, including rum, whiskey, vodka and liqueurs — all distilled on site.

A menu will feature a host of comfort foods, such as gourmet burgers, hand-cut fries, a top-secret family recipe for macaroni and cheese, and fresh salads. Vegetarian and vegan options will also be available. A menu item called the Impossible Burger, that boasts of tasting like a juicy burger, but is made from plants is one example. For dessert, there will hand-spun milkshakes, topped with a freshly baked cookie.

Howard and Laura moved to Michigan from Colorado in 2017 to be closer to family, and now call Niles home. Before they moved, Howard and Laura had owned and operated the Whistling Hare Distillery in Westminster, Colorado. Running their own distillery was a passion they said they wished to bring to the Niles area.

After touring several potential locations, the couple decided that they liked the architectural character of the former muffler shop at 3 N. Third. They started the transformation in late 2017, adding on about 900-square-feet to the building’s south side to make room for bar and kitchen space.

Granger artist Chris Stackowicz also helped to renovate the space by creating a vibrant blue and white mural on the outside of the building that depicts the distillery process, from bags of grain to the silver stills. At the entrance of the business, Stackowicz painted the words: “Discovering the Spirit of Niles, Michigan.”

Since the couple first started transforming the space, Laura said the community of Niles has rallied to support them.

“That is something we have been really thankful for, too, just the enthusiasm we have received and the interest,” Laura said. “Every day, someone has been asking when we are going to open. We are just really excited to share the space and welcome the community.”

Iron Shoe Distillery will be open from 3 to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. Those interested in learning more about the business can visit Iron Shoe’s Facebook page.