Michigan’s Iron Fish Distillery Using Bourbon To Help Bring Back Legendary Fish

| March 29, 2022

A new barrel-strength craft bourbon is out to help usher the comeback of what’s been called Michigan’s lost treasure, the Arctic Grayling fish.

In a collaboration of artisans, Michigan’s Iron Fish Distillery created the Arctic Grayling Whiskey Series to celebrate the Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative, which features more than 40 organizations working to restore self-sustaining populations of Arctic Grayling in Michigan rivers.

In 2017, Iron Fish set aside a few barrels of farm-grown, estate grain, distilled whiskey for initial release in 2019 featuring a label design donated by Michigan artist, Dani Knoph.

Iron Fish Arctic Grayling Bourbon

A new barrel-strength craft bourbon is out to help usher the comeback of what’s been called Michigan’s lost treasure, the Arctic Grayling fish. (image via Iron Fish)

Iron Fish Distillery also established and joined supporters in contributing to the Iron Fish Arctic Grayling Research Fund. The fund supports related research under way at Michigan State University.

For this special whiskey expression, four-year-old straight bourbon made from 100-percent Michigan grain fills bottles featuring the hand-drawn Grayling print by Michigan artist Dani Knoph.

“The story of Michigan’s lost Grayling is now a comeback story … full of hope, challenge, science, and partnership,” Knoph said in a prepared statement. “Restoring Michigan’s wild Grayling encourages us to learn from the past, evaluate the present and define the future. From Montana and Alaska to Michigan, many people are caring for this native species. It gives me hope. It’s the Native American Seven Generations principle at work.”

The initiative intends to draw attention to the research at Michigan State University supported by groups such as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Wenger Foundation and Trout Unlimited Chapters.

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Iron Fish Barrel Strength Estate Bourbon distiller’s notes show that the four-year-old expression features a mash bill of:

  • 70% organic corn
  • 16% Iron Fish estate-grown wheat
  • 9% barley
  • 5% Iron Fish estate-grown rye

Only 100 bottles will be available until they sell out. And to get one, or to join Iron Fish Distillery in supporting research for the Michigan Grayling Initiative, go to https://manisteefoundation.org/donations and https://ironfishdistillery.com/arcticgrayling.


Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...