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91-Fat Tuesday or Fat Booze Day? Detroit Distilleries Paczki Vodka Packs a Perfectly Flavorful Punch

91-Fat Tuesday or Fat Booze Day? Detroit Distilleries Paczki Vodka Packs a Perfectly Flavorful Punch

Do you enjoy sugary, deep-fried treats? What about a nice, relaxing drink after a long day? Thanks to Detroit City Distillery’s palate-tickling paczki vodka, you can have both at the same time! In this intoxicating episode, distillery co-owner Michael Forsyth discusses how the concoction is steeped Detroit’s Polish heritage, explains the innovative pastry-to-vodka distilling process, and updates us on business progress throughout the pandemic. Bonus content— Mike and team conduct an in-office vodka tasting!

Show Notes

[00:40] Michael Forsyth, co-owner of Detroit City Distillery — welcome back to Open Mike!

[00:50] Last time you were here, you provided some bourbon that was very good that I restocked several times. But you had mentioned you had amazing paczki-flavored vodka and yet you sold so many of them you weren’t able to share any with me! You sold out 2,000 bottles in 4.5 hours last February, is that true?

[02:13] Tell us about your business and what you’ve been up to since the pandemic!

[03:52] Bottle sales this past pandemic year compared to a normal year… are they up, down, flat, what’s happening?

[04:35] Bars were closed, but people purchased so much alcohol from liquor stores that business was actually up compared to the previous year.

[05:37] We’re talking about Paczki Day, which is coming up, February 16th. Do you want to tell our listeners about Fat Tuesday and what it’s all about?

[06:22] Detroit City Distillery is partial to New Palace Bakery in Hamtramck, a local, 100-year-old institution.

[07:18] You love paczkis and you love alcohol… what made you decide to put together the proverbial chocolate and the peanut butter?

[09:13] Has anybody copied you yet?

[10:23] You showed me last year of the paczkis smushed up in the alcohol, and it looked kind of gross and good at the same time! But you strain out the paczkis and then it burns off, right?

[11:34] On that note, you’re making my mouth water. So I want to introduce you to two of the people who helped the alcohol industry sell all of those bottles last year — Jami and Ryan who work here at the law firm! I thought rather than drinking alone in my office, I would have them in here and sample it and give us their opinions!

[12:50] I like the bottle, especially the sticker of the paczki on the back!

[13:15] It’s 88 proof — how about you explain what that means while I pour for my friends?

[13:55] Most vodka is proofed at 80, so this is going to give you a little more bang for your buck.

[14:34] Alright… what’s “cheers” in Polish?

[14:44] Wow, that’s smooth! I don’t usually drink vodka straight — this is really good!

[15:18] You can distill anything into vodka because it’s essentially pure alcohol. You can make it out of potatoes, wheat, rye, grapes. Potato vodka is often the smoothest, a “blank canvas.”

[16:25] Jami loves it — it’s much smoother than the vodka she normally drinks.

[16:55] Ryan agrees — it doesn’t have the burn going down. The raspberry flavor comes through, but you can actually taste the doughiness of the pastry.

[17:38] This might be good just on the rocks… would you mix this with anything?

[18:19] Detroit City Distillery does a riff on a White Russian with this vodka. They use Bailey’s instead of Kahlua and grate cinnamon over the top.

[19:04] There’s another drink called the Polish Daisy that’s the paczki vodka, Cocchi Americano (a fortified wine), lemon, and vanilla syrup. They’ll be bottling and selling this as a bottled cocktail.

[22:37] These pre-bottled cocktails you’re selling — where can I go out and buy those?

[22:54] Purchase cocktails on the Detroit City Distillery website, and pick it up in person or curbside at their tasting room! They’re open Wednesday-Sunday.

[23:29] Some of your liquor is available at local liquor stores and supermarkets. Will these bottled cocktails and paczki vodka be sold at these locations as well?

[24:21] Last year, people were calling from Poland, asking how they could get their hands on the paczki vodka! In Michigan, bars are not allowed to ship alcohol, but Woods Wholesale Wine in Grosse Pointe is licensed to ship alcohol out-of-state (but not in state, ironically).

[25:11] It feels like we need a law change in Michigan… how are we one of the only states that can’t ship alcohol?

[25:56] Jami and Ryan just refilled their glasses, so that’s a compliment right there! And then they’re going to try and do some work around the firm after this… So if you call the firm and Jami answers and sounds a little happy, you know why!

[26:28] What was your biggest seller last year?

[27:03] Are you guys sending out newsletters? How are you getting the word out?

[27:57] Cheers, Michael! Happy Paczki Day, and hopefully you’ll sell out just as quick as last year.

[28:32] Thank you for watching this installment of Open Mike: Alcohol Edition. I’m going to start slurring my words in a minute. If you know someone who likes alcohol, vodka, or paczkis, share this episode and make sure you subscribe to get updates! Thank you for watching, thank you for listening. Take care!

Note: at the time of production, Detroit City Distillery’s vodka had not yet been released. When it was released on February 1st, 2021, the entire stock sold out in 22 minutes.

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