Detroit 2020


Detroit 2020 Michigan Made: Motor City Gas Distillery serves up holiday libations

Posted at 6:26 PM, Dec 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-22 18:26:42-05

Throughout December our Detroit 2020 team has been out searching for the best - Made in Michigan - gifts. This week we went to a small batch distillery that could be a perfect fit for your last-minute gift idea.

This week in our-it's Michigan made feature, we found Motor City Gas whiskey distillery in Royal Oak. These spirits are sure to make your season bright.

If champagne isn’t your thing, how about a bottle of bourbon or rye to ring in the new year.

We produce, we manufacture whiskeys here. We do the entire process here from grain to glass,” explains Rich Lockwood.

It’s not a new idea to bringing a nice bottle of whiskey as a gift but why not bring a local libation that supports Michigan's economy.

We work with a bunch of Michigan local farms to source whole grains that we then crush here on sight… cook, ferment, distill …all the way to bottling and even serving the product here in the tasting room.

Rich Lockwood lost his marketing job two years ago, when the company went in a new direction so he and his wife, Tonya, started Motor City Gas.

 “We love supporting local, my wife and I live here. We live in Royal Oak, just down the street from the distillery,” said Lockwood.

It’s not your traditional watering hole!  It’s a tasting room which gives you the opportunity to try…before you buy!!!

“We have a bit of tradition in our process here as well, we’re kind of a fusion of traditional style whiskeys and new aged whiskeys. We do some very old school stuff,” adds Lockwood.

The distillery sources as much locally as they can by buying malted grains from Motorcity MaltHouse in Shelby Township or using Royal  Oak harvested maple syrup.

“We have a product that we just released that is a double hopped malt whiskey where we collaborate with two different Royal Oak breweries. We start with distilling IPA beer from Axle brewing and then after we distill that into whiskey we age it in IPA beer barrels from River Rouge Brewing," said Lockwood.

They don’t distribute through retailers and that’s by design. They don’t want to grow too fast.

“We love teaching people about whiskey and really teaching them about local whiskey and educating them about all the different corners of the whiskey world,” he adds.

The business is truly a labor of love for this Royal Oak couple.

“I love everything about it, I work harder than I ever have in my life but we love what we do here," adds Lockwood. 

Stop by Motor City Gas tasting room to find the best options for your gift, you can also pick up one of these gift sets.