When Rifino Valentine as contemplating opening a vodka distillery, he had one goal in mind.
“When I started more than 13 years ago, my goal was to show that we, in this country, still make some of the best stuff,” Valentine says. “I wanted to make a product that could compete both nationally and internationally.”
Valentine Vodka, located in Ferndale, realized that goal last year when its vodka was named “World’s Best” at the World Vodka Awards in London. “I don’t want to say it was shocking, because it’s what we’ve been working for,” Valentine says. “But it was extremely exciting.”
Since the win, Valentine has continued to expand his business. In addition to operating a cocktail lounge just off of Woodward Avenue in Ferndale, Valentine also boasts a 15,000-square-foot production facility across town. “We’re actually becoming one of the biggest independent distilleries in the country,” Valentine says of his company, which also produces gin and whiskey.
While the “World’s Best” label is nice, Valentine says he has no intention of resting. “We wanted to make a product that stood out on a national and international stage,” he says. “We’ve kind of done that. Now the goal is to maintain the quality while perfecting our whiskeys and gins.”