Beekeepers and bourbon distillers team up

It's hard to get much more Michigan made than this.

A Detroit-based distillery is soaking its bourbon in honey made from beehives cultivated by a Detroit nonprofit. The corks are made in the thumb, a mill from Dexter processes some of the raw materials. Even the bottle's design is drawn by one of the distillers.

Say hello to Detroit City Distillery.

Just in time for the perfect holiday gift, the distillery is branding its own honey-based bourbon.

"So we took Bees in the D honey and put it in one of the butcher block barrels, which are charred on the inside, and we let it sit in there for three months and then we remove the honey and then Detroit City distillers did their magic and brewed a bourbon inside the honey-soaked bourbon barrel," said Hank Thoenes, of Bees in the D.

The preservation group has been around for four years. They have 160 honeybee hives in 50 locations spread across five counties. 

"(We) took that honey out and then put that bourbon back in so we finish the bourbon with the honey so you have a really nice balance of the two different flavors," said Thoenes.

And the result? Bourbon-based honey and honey-based bourbon - a win-win for both the nonprofit and the distillery.

"It doesn't get more handmade or made in Detroit than this. This is cool because when you buy a bottle of bourbon from us you were supporting farmers across the state," said Mike Forsyth of Detroit City Distillery. "You're supporting a local mill in Dexter, you're supporting somebody who makes corks up near the thumb and now you're supporting Bees in the D right? Which is doing this amazing effort to educate people on the importance of bees to our livelihoods but also helping bees find a home in Detroit."

People can purchase bottles of the bourbon at a special event on Friday at Eastern Market from 7 to 11 p.m., with the goal of helping the bee cultivators by donating some of the proceeds.

"This last year, we did 11 honey harvests, we had become a bee keeper workshops, we had hive visits and hive tours that we were able to do. We'd like to have some local base instead of moving all over the city. we'd like to have a base where people come to us for those experiences and that's what we'll be able to offer at the education center," said Thoenes.