Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Valentine Distilling Expands Distribution Along East Coast - Former Detroit Red Wing Eddie Mio Joins Team as Brand Manager

Michigan-made Valentine Distilling Company has been introduced to the marketplace in New York State – with placements at award winning restaurants like Rye House and City Winery. Distribution will extend to Maryland, Connecticut and Washington DC this fall, all via Opici Family Distributing. According to distiller/owner Rifino Valentine, this will make six (7) total states for distribution – with the others being Michigan, Tennessee and Illinois.

The Opici family celebrated their 75th anniversary in the wine business in 2009. Hubert Opici is recognized as an icon in the industry, and the fourth generation of the Opici family is in place to continue this tradition for generations to come.

Increased distribution means the addition of a Brand Manager position, with Eddie Mio taking over the responsibilities. Mio, who played goalie for the Red Wings for three seasons, from 1983 to 1986, was also assistant GM for the Phoenix Coyotes and a part of hockey great Wayne Gretzky's Gretzky Estates Winery.

“I am extremely pleased to be joining Valentine Distilling Company,” says Eddie. “I was drawn to Valentine because of the care and quality of what they are distilling in Michigan is remarkable. Rifino is handcrafting products that not only compete at the local level, but at the international level as well. To be able to maintain the consistency and quality of all their products is why ‘Made in Michigan’ on the bottle is exciting and I am glad to be promoting Valentine Distilling. We’ve only just begun!”

Valentine Distilling currently has four products in its Michigan-made portfolio:

• Valentine Vodka (Released March 2009). In 2012, Anthony Dias Blue, editor-in-chief of The Tasting Panel magazine recognized this as one of the top vodkas in the world with a 94-point ranking – placing higher than noted international brands like Belvedere, Ketel One, Grey Goose and Absolut. It was also awarded a Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2012. In 2011, it received a Double Gold Medal in the “Best Domestic Vodka” category by TheFiftyBest.com. The Beverage Testing Institute (BTI) also awarded Valentine Vodka with a Gold Medal “Exceptional” in both 2010 and 2011.

• White Blossom (Released March 2012). Infused with the flowers of Elderflower, this product won a Gold Medal – rated Exceptional – receiving a 92 point rating from the BTI.

• Liberator Gin (Released March 2013). Winner of the “Best of Category – Gold Medal” and “Best of Class” for the Contemporary Rectified Gin at the American Distilling Institute’s 7th Annual Judging of Artisan American Spirits competition as well as a Gold Medal (90 point rating) from the BTI’s International Review of Spirits Competition.

• Liberator Old Tom Gin (Limited Release July 2013) A barrel aged version of Liberator Gin that is aged in new American oak barrels for up to a year. Gold Medal Winner, Craft Spirits Competition in 2013.

• Woodward Whiskey (Released June 2013). Started as a top-secret project five years ago, Woodward Ltd. is a four-year bourbon handdistilled from corn, rye and barley. It most recently received a Silver Medal from the Craft Spirits Competition in 2013.

“Our goal from the beginning, has been to bring manufacturing back not only to this country, but to Detroit,” says Rifino. “We’ve always set our sights on crafting spirits that compete on the international level. To win these competitions, topping some of the biggest and best companies in the world, is not only personally satisfying, but also serves the economic purpose of bringing manufacturing back. Our philosophy has always been ‘don’t drink Valentine spirits just because they are local – drink them because they are better.’”

Valentine Distilling launched into the Michigan market in early 2009 and has since been ranked one of the top-rated craft distilleries in the country. Operating out of a 5000-square-foot facility in Ferndale, Valentine Distilling proudly produces its original spirits in two world-class Christian Carl Stills.

161 Vester Street – Ferndale, Michigan


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