Collection: New Holland Brewing
More than Beer from Holland Michigan
The people at New Holland decided to start making whiskey a) because of their own curiosity and sense of adventure as brewers – distillation is the step after brewing – and b) they thought they could make good whiskey as their technical set-up and brewing experience allowed it. This was encouraged also by the fact that they can serve alcohol in their pub only if it’s made there. So why not, indeed? They actually started the distillation back in 2005, serving their spirits in the pub where state law allowed service only of spirits classified as brandies. Their first grain based spirits came out in December 2008, “shortly after the Small Distillers License allowed them to be poured in our pub.”
In terms of distilling power they have recently brought in a 2,000 gallon wash still to feed their 600 gallon spirit still and this will take their capacity up to 100,000 proof gallons per year. Brad adds that their wheat whiskey should come out at about 5,000 proof gallons this year. A lot more to look forward to.
If you look on their website ( www.newhollandbrew.com ), you’ll see their old Prohibition era still - a wonderful contraption. Where did they find it and did it need much renovation? Fred replied, “It came from New Jersey and was in storage for decades. It was originally commissioned for the Baldwin Dew Distilling Company, in 1934 and which focused on making Apple Brandy. We had it rehabbed by Vendome Copper and Brass Works in Louisville, KY. It was in pretty good shape and has been rockin’ and rolling ever since.”
For maturation, the barrels are charred at a cooperage in Louisville, Kentucky at various char levels. The Michigan Wheat spirit is aged for 14 months. Their chosen length of maturation is determined by barrel size and they use barrels from 15 – 30 gallons. As Brad explained, “Since the surface area of wood to whiskey is greater in a small barrel, there is more micro oxidation and oak contact with the spirit. 14 months is the optimal time where the barrel has influenced the whiskey just the right amount and the exact flavors we want are showcased”.
Distillers are influenced by many things so do any other art forms informed their work – maybe paintings, sculpture, music, fine cuisine? Fred responded, “We are constantly inspired by those around us. This whiskey began as we goofed off with a particularly amusing and whimsical mentor, and then became driven by our desire to explore and support local agriculture and local maltsters. Finding terroir and an interesting sip that stands out and makes people happy is remarkable inspiration, as well as gratification. I am definitely inspired by other arts. I minored in the Arts at Hope College with a Sculpture emphasis. This has prepared me to be creative in all aspects of my work. I love to use my hands and dig in on projects!”
The last few questions were answered by President, Brett who confesses that when not drinking his own whiskeys, he loves “a great rum and craft stouts!” His favorite dish is a good beef roast with local herbs and vegetables. That might well be a good match for Bill’s Michigan Wheat Whiskey. Does Brett get involved in the distilling or is that all down to Brad? “I probably get involved more than Brad would like . My style is to put a lot of confidence in folks that I surround myself with. I then check in and try and coach them in a positive manner. Put another way, Brad and Sean are doing the bulk of the distilling… they let me play occasionally!”
Happy people make good whiskey. These are happy people.
Brett VanderKamp(President and Co-founder)
Brett has spearheaded the company’s growth and innovation since its inception in 1996. He currently serves the Michigan Brewers Guild as head chair of the Government Affairs Committee. Brett was recognized as one of Grand Rapids Business Journal’s “40 Under 40″ in 2011 – heralding his dedication to innovation and community. Brett’s entrepreneurial spirit and artistic sensibilities are at the very heart of New Holland.
Dave White (Vice President of Retail Operations and Partner)
Dave has the distinction of being New Holland’s first employee. Since then, Dave has gone from part-time bottler to full-time “Director of Chaos” and led the team from a small, yet cozy pizza kitchen into a bustling, 350-seat restaurant serving the Holland area seven days a week. He has developed the retail and merchandise program, renovated several spaces and overseen the kitchen redesign to accommodate remarkable and persistent growth. Dave has also served on various community boards including – Holland’s Tulip Time Organization and Downtown Development Association.
Fred Bueltmann (Vice President of Sales & Marketing and Partner)
Fred (a.k.a. The Beervangelist) has been responsible for managing New Holland’s branding efforts and overall sales of beer and spirits since his arrival in 2004. . He is a Certified Cicerone®, past president of the Michigan Brewers Guild and recipient of their prestigious “Tom Burns Award” recognizing the pioneering spirit of the “Great Beer State.” Fred serves as a judge for the Brewer’s Association’s Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup. He authored Beervangelist’s Guide to the Galaxy a seasonal tome on pairing, cooking and hosting with craft beer and was a 2013 Keynote Speaker for the Michigan Restaurant Association.