Lansing may be the capital of Michigan and have its share of history, but it’s also home to many fine establishments that offer exceptional libations. From hard cider to distilled spirits to craft brews, the Greater Lansing area’s Makers & Shakers Beer, Wine and Spirits Trail has something for everyone. Some of the trail is walkable, so no designated driver required. You can mix and match which businesses you want to visit, as we did here. Our tour does require some driving, so make sure to plan accordingly. We also provide some additional ideas of what you can do near each establishment.
Driving Time: 1 hour, 6 minutes
Distance: 49 miles
Stop #1: Country Mill Farms (Seasonal)
If you’ll be traveling around in the summertime, then make sure to make Country Mill Orchard and Cider Mill one of your stops. The farm market and bakery open each July and remain reliably so through Thanksgiving. You can find wine and hard cider available for sale in the farm market. Come September and October, wine tastings are available every Tuesday-Sunday from noon to five. In addition, you can pick your own apples, blueberries, peaches, and pumpkins at the 213-acre farm to bring back to the campsite.
Nearby…Just south of the little town of Charlotte is Bennett Park. Kids will love the playground, enjoying a picnic at a pavilion, and exploring the banks of historic Battle Creek. There are also numerous trails, both paved and unpaved, if you want to get out for a walk or a bike.
American Fifth Spirits
Distinguished as Lansing’s first distillery, American Fifth Spirits uses local ingredients to handcraft vodka, gin, bourbon whiskey, and malt whiskey. The tasting room offers a sensory experience for more than your taste buds. Much of the unique and vintage elements of the reclaimed 1920s building were left intentionally in the room’s design. The counter of the tasting bar itself is composed of shiny copper pennies. You also won’t find loud music or televisions, so it’s truly a reprieve from the ordinary world. Cocktails and mocktails change on a monthly basis and utilize the spirits made on site, and there’s a limited snack menu. American Fifth Spirits offers free distillery tours on Thursdays between 5 and 7 p.m. and Saturdays between 5 and 6:30 p.m. You need to call ahead to reserve a spot
Nearby… A short seven-minute walk down E. Michigan Avenue and Museum Dr. will bring you to the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. From horseless carriages to race cars to electric cars, you can immerse yourself in learning about some of the important automobile history of the state of Michigan. Tickets are just $7 for adults ($5 if you’re over 65) and $5 for kids. A family of five can visit for $15. Check the website for admission times.
Lansing Brewing Company
Located on Shiawassee Street, Lansing Brewing Company’s website states, “We supplied beer to those that built this city.” It was established in 1898, and it was a popular spot for workers and tradesmen to gather as they constructed Lansing. The architecture of the brewery building itself is impressive and was a welcome sight to the new Lansing skyline. However, the brewery closed with Prohibition in 1914. A hundred years later, Lansing Brewing Company was resurrected and is the only full-scale production brewery in the city. You can also enjoy spirits, wine, and a full menu.
Nearby… Just down Shiawassee Street is Adado Riverfront Park, which has an easy river walk along the Grand River. It’s also handicapped accessible. Bring a Frisbee or a kite along – there’s plenty of open space.
Red Cedar Spirits, Cocktail Bar and Distillery
Brandy (apple and cherry), bourbon, whiskey, gin, and vodka. What more can you ask for? Tours are popular, and Red Cedar enjoys letting visitors in on the workings of the distillery, which is one of the largest in Michigan. You can call to schedule a time or ask at the cocktail bar. Oh, and there’s a happy hour every day from 4-7 p.m. You may also come across tastings and demos during that time, too.
Nearby… An 11-minute drive, mostly on 69, takes you into the heart of Michigan State University. Wander the campus (can you find the statue of the Spartan?), visit the MSU Museum to view the dinosaur skeletons and cultural artifacts, or visit the Abrams Planetarium.
Take a short drive east of Haslett to visit Burgdorf’s Winery. Yes, it’s in a finished garage. For reds and whites, the finish of the wines ranges from dry to sweet. Try five for $5 at the tasting room, which is open year-round. One that shouldn’t be passed up: the double-gold winning wine, “Perfection,” which is made from black raspberries and tart cherries. All fruit wines are made with Michigan grown fruit.
Nearby… Just to the north is the Rose Lake State Wildlife Area, which has several trails to choose from for an easy to moderate hike through the woods.
Looking Glass Brewery
Looking Glass is bustling in a former historic church (Mount Hope), and the Lansing natives who own and operate the establishment made sure to retain much of the building’s natural charisma to make for an unforgettable atmosphere. Try craft beer, mead, and cider. BBQ is king of the menu, with Smoked BBQ Ribs being the weekly special on Friday and Saturday. As they say on the website with regards to their craft beer, “All styles, no boundaries.” What will you discover?
Nearby… DeWitt is a peaceful little community that is family-friendly with a quaint downtown. Get a taste of old school America by walking the streets and stopping in the specialty boutiques and eateries.
Additional stops on the Makers & Shakers Trail: Arcadia Ales, BAD Brewing Company, Brickhaven Brewing Company, Charlotte Brewing Company, Dimes Brewing, EagleMonk, Ellison Brewery and Spirits, Harpers Restaurant, Michigrain Distillery, Midtown Brewing Co., Old Nation Brewing Company, Ozone’s Brewhouse, Sanctuary Spirits, Spartan Brewpub, Uncle John’s Cider Mill & Fruit House Winery