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Inspiring Conversations with Howard Tuthill of Iron Shoe Distilling

Today we’d like to introduce you to Howard Tuthill. 

Hi Howard, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
We moved to Southwest Michigan 4 years ago from Colorado. We had a distillery out there and were excited to start up again in Niles once we moved here. We found the perfect building (an old muffler shop) in downtown Niles and converted it into a craft distillery and restaurant. At the distillery, we make all of our own spirits, including vodka, rum, whiskey, and a handful of liqueurs, as well as the full-service restaurant serving gourmet burgers. The last 3 years have been a roller coaster between opening, then covid, and all the other surprises that we have all been experiencing as of late, but we have just finished a huge expansion including our rooftop bar and patio, and are excited for a busy summer! 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Obviously, our biggest hurdle has been all of the changes/restrictions that covid brought with it. Fortunately, we have been able to pivot our business model a number of times to weather the storm. At one point our restaurant was completely shut down, but our production was busier than we have ever been making hand sanitizer. Outside of that lately, it has been finding adequate staff to keep up with our increasing capacity. We have a wonderful core group of team members that have gone above and beyond to help get us through the staffing challenges and were are now finally fully staffed for the summer with the strongest team we have ever had. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Iron Shoe Distilling?
We are a craft distillery and restaurant. We make all of our own spirits and serve gourmet burgers. 

Let’s talk about our city – what do you love? What do you not love?
We love all of the unique craft food and beverage offerings in Southwest Michigan. We have been able to partner with a number of local breweries on collaborations and have more in the works. There is no shortage of fun, exciting and delicious places to try in our area! 

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