Detroit City Distillery co-owner and his fight to keep business alive amidst pandemic

Restaurants and bars have had to reinvent themselves over and loosening restrictions allowing 50-percent in and staying open later but the plight isn’t over for our favorite places to gather.  

The Detroit City Distillery is still standing after a heck of a year.  

"The longer it sits in the barrel, the more it tastes like the barrel," said co-founder Michael Forsyth. "Twenty-five thousand gallons of hand sanitizer later, we turned into a sanitizer factory." 
When Forsyth and his childhood buddies - founded the place 6 years ago, who would have thought they would be eventually be dealing with a pandemic.

"We moved our whole bar into the street for the summer," he said.
They moved the entire bar operation four more times inside and outside back again. And now, a fifth time coming soon.   
"We just tried to adapt and survive, so that’s the name of the game," Forsyth.  
There have been losses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and counting.  
"To be truthful, I don’t always look at it because sometimes I just don’t want to know, it's more about, 'Do we have money in the bank account to make payroll? OK, great.'"  
Their bar at Eastern Market is now a liquor store and the Whiskey Factory off Gratiot should be hosting special events and is instead a spread-out cocktail lounge. 
They are staying open, however, and whenever they could.  
"People need a moment of joy and escape in their lives and that’s kind of why you make alcohol, " he said.  

Detroit Distillery co-founder Michael Forsyth.

After learning this week from the governor they can double capacity and keep the pours going later.  
"We need to go buy more chairs," he said. "Fifty percent is great but a little more notice would be nice."  
Forsyth says its hard to pivot when you can’t plan for - anything.  
"There are a lot of people in the industry scrambling today to get to 50 percent because we all need it," he said.. 
The next six weeks they will plan to serve drinks and food by reservation then, they’ll squeeze in two years worth of weddings into six months under the Covid cloud.  
"It’s hard because the city was on such an amazing trajectory," he said. "So it’s going to be a challenge to get back to that, but I think we are up for it."  

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