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Read about our Makers

Stay up to date on expansions, unique experiences, special releases and the people running your favorite Makers Trail locations with our blogs below.

Southwest Michigan Fall Color Report

The leaves are slowly starting their transition into the beautiful hues of crimson red, rusted orange and brown! With the upcoming drop in temperatures, especially at night, you can expect to see more progress in the coloration of trees in Southwest Michigan. Patience is key — and rewarding when it comes to our fall color! We are settling into the cooler weather and comfier layers. Soon, the fall color will settle in, too. But while you are waiting, you can still find plenty of family fun in Southwest Michigan.

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A parent and two children in an orchard.

The 10 best towns to visit this fall in Southwest Michigan

Taking a fall color tour along Southwest Michigan’s gorgeous Lake Michigan shoreline and into its rolling countryside is certainly a feast for your eyes. But don’t cruise by when you see welcome signs to these 10 communities. Pull into a parking spot and walk around.

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Horse-drawn trolley on a brick road.

Q&A with Karma Vista Vineyards

The Herman family has been fruit farming near I-94 at the Coloma exit for 175 years — and in 2002 they decided to open a winery using that fruit. To celebrate Karma Vista Vineyard’s 20 years in Southwest Michigan, we spoke with owner Joe Herman. Learn about the family fruit growing business, the people who run it and what visitors can expect below!

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A view of the vineyard and tasting room.

The top 10 list of must-see things in Southwest Michigan

Welcome to Southwest Michigan — one of the most beautiful and fun-filled places in the Midwest. This paradise along Lake Michigan’s shoreline is bursting with must-visit places and activities in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties.

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A family walking toward the beach in St. Joseph, MI

Spend a day at Ghost Isle Brewery with family!

Ghost Isle Brewery opened at 17684 US Hwy 12, New Buffalo in April 2019, bringing together locals, visitors, an onsite brewery and Ghost Island’s hauntings. We spoke with owner Elizabeth Sima about what you can expect when you visit this spooky good, family friendly brewery on the Galien River Marsh.

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Two people enjoying beers at the bar at Ghost Isle Brewery.

Top 14 Breweries In Southwest Michigan

“Good people drink good beer,” journalist Hunter S. Thompson famously opined. We couldn’t agree more. Fortunately, here in Southwest Michigan, there is no shortage of phenomenal craft beer.

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The owner and brewer at Seedz Brewery holding beers.

Master the Makers Trail Fest with these tips

Do you like trying new craft beers, wines, ciders and spirits? Are you a fan of beach parties? Then you won’t want to miss out on Southwest Michigan’s biggest beach party — the Makers Trail Festival!

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A group of friends at the Makers Trail Festival

21 of the best wineries in Southwest Michigan

So you love wine.

Red, white, blush. Sweet, dry, sparkling. You enjoy it all. Chances are you'd be a sommelier if you didn't have to go back to school. You're also a huge fan of the winery experience. From tastings to tours to simply kicking back with a glass of your favorite vino, wineries are your happy place.

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A glass of Tabor Hill cranberry wine

Mt. Tabor Trails: Hike and sip on this tasting adventure

Two Men hiking the Mt Tabor Trail

Two Makers Trail destinations, Round Barn Estate in Baroda and Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant in Buchanan, have hit upon a fun tasting experience that you won’t find anywhere else in Southwest Michigan! These Moersch Hospitality Group sister wineries have created Mt. Tabor Trails — four trails that wind through the picturesque vineyards, fields and woods between them.

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Two Men hiking the Mt Tabor Trail

Celebrate International Whiskey Day

Man drinking whiskey in front of the whiskey flag at Journeyman Distillery

International Whiskey Day is just around the corner! We have good news and better news for you whiskey lovers.

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Man drinking whiskey in front of the whiskey flag at Journeyman Distillery

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

A Group of People Enjoying St Patricks Day at North Pier Brewing Company

Looking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? We may not have a green river, but we do have a Makers Trail full of Irish spirit! Whether you are looking to go out or grab something to take home, you can pay a visit to these local wineries and breweries for some St. Paddy’s-themed grub.

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Dablon Vineyards & Winery: Snowshoes, Igloos & Fireside Fun

Dablon Snowshoeing

Have the winter doldrums? Then we have just the place to lift your spirits.

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Gravity Vineyards and Winery: Cheers to a new decade of escaping the everyday

Gravity Winery Exterior

Everyday life is a juggling act — your family, job, sports, volunteer commitments. For 10 years, Gravity Vineyards and Winery has focused on creating a place for you to escape your everyday routines and truly relax. We asked owners Allison and Rockie Rick to share more about their winery, its first decade and plans for the coming year. Here’s what they had to say:

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Niles Brewing Company celebrates first anniversary

Craft Flight Club photo by @craftflightclub

In December 2020, Niles native Brandon Townsley took his homebrewing expertise and opened a brewery with his wife, Alyssa, during a pandemic. On Dec. 12, Niles Brewing Company celebrates their first anniversary after a year of navigating business ownership, partnership, creating community and setting new goals. 

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Craft Flight Club photo by @craftflightclub

Makers Trail Gift Guide: Presents for wine lovers, beer lovers and more

Gift Shopping at White Pine Winery

Looking for gift ideas for the cider, spirit, beer and wine lovers on your holiday shopping list? Travel the Southwest Michigan’s Makers Trail. What makes this shopping trip extra fun is that each craft winery, brewery, cidery and distillery lets you taste most of the gifts before you buy them. This is an easy way to find sure-to-please presents to bring to parties or deliver on your gift-giving holiday AND pick up your favorite craft beverages to bring home to enjoy, too.

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Gift Shopping at White Pine Winery

Southwest Michigan Staycation Guide: How to vacation at home in winter

Winter in Downtown St Joseph

Oftentimes, we all need a breather. It can take many forms — a wine tasting with friends, meal out with family, solo walk along the beach and so on. These little breaks allow us to return to our daily lives refreshed after some self-care. Why should that time only last a few hours?

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Winter in Downtown St. Joseph

Celebrating 10 Years of local craft spirit heaven: Journeyman Distillery

Journeyman Distillery

Over the past decade, from refurbishing the breathtaking 1883 EK Warren Featherbone Factory building to handcrafting a wide selection of sought-after liquors, Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks has become a renowned staple of Southwest Michigan’s craft spirit experience.

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Double your fall color tour fun: Nature + Makers Trail

Wine And Leaves

Many places in Michigan focus their fall color experiences on the dramatic changes in leaf colors. But in Southwest Michigan, you can also see and taste another autumn color show on our Makers Trail — glasses filled with amber, russet, garnet, deep purple, straw yellow and rosé wines, beers, ciders and cocktails. Stay for one or more of our Lake Michigan fiery red, orange, yellow and lavender sunsets and you will see why this is an extraordinary fall color destination. 

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Celebrate Michigan Craft Spirits Month at our local distilleries!

Craft spirits at Journeyman Distillery

Do you know the Green Day song, “Wake Me Up When September Ends”? Well, we’re interrupting your early fall slumber — with good reason.

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Craft spirits at Journeyman Distillery

Makers Trail tips from a 2021 Passport grand prize winner

Michael Miller of Hazel Crest, Illinois, was thrilled when he learned he was one of five winners in the 2021 Makers Trail Flight Crew Passport Grand Prize Drawing. His reward was a two-night, all-inclusive stay at a Southwest Michigan hotel. He immediately offered to share his story with others so they could discover how much fun they would have participating in the 2021/2022 program that ends May 31. We called Michael, and here are some of his tips:

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Makers Trail Grand Prize Winners

Happy 50th Harvest to Tabor Hill

Tabor Hill - Classic Demi-Sec

Winemakers who prefer a hug over a handshake

Picture yourself at a winery, sipping a delicious vintage with family or friends as you gaze across an expansive vineyard. Listen as the grape-scented breeze whispers tales.

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Celebrate a centennial of winemaking with St. Julian Wine Co.

St. Julian Winery

When people stop by one of St. Julian Wine Co.’s six locations to taste and purchase their creations while on their Michigan wine tours, what they may not know is that their pours are part of Michigan history and a family’s heritage.

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An “Incider’s” look at Peat’s Cider Social

Peat's Cider Social

Peat’s Cider Social is a family-friendly taproom in a retro bowling alley in Stevensville, Mich., specializing in unique hard ciders and seltzers. How did this interesting combination of family fun and craft beverages come to be? We got the inside scoop from Co-Founder and CMO Leah Peat.

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Gather with good spirits at this Niles distillery

Iron Shoe Distillery

Did you know that there’s a business in Niles that brings together people, good food, great cocktails and the legend of St. Dunstan? If not, you must visit Iron Shoe Distillery.

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Southwest Michigan Staycation Guide: How to vacation at home

 

Oftentimes, we all need a breather. It can take many forms — a wine tasting with friends, a meal out with family, a solo walk along the beach and so on. These little breaks allow us to return to our daily lives refreshed after some self-care. Why should that time only last a few hours?

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Sip the rarest of treats on the Makers Trail Liquid Gold Tour

It’s rare to find … even rarer to make it … but along Southwest Michigan’s Makers Trail you can discover wines that some describe as liquid gold, others dessert in a glass and vintners call “ice wine.”

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Five Ways to Get Out This Winter

RiverRocks0941

Winter is here in Southwest Michigan, and it’s time to get outside, get fresh air, and take in some frosty fun. Here are five ideas for getting out this winter:

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Outdoor Tasting Experiences to Try This Winter

Winter on the Makers Trail will be even cooler this year! Many of our wineries, breweries and distilleries are creating unique seasonal outdoor experiences. With firepits, heated patios, private greenhouses or domes you can rent, rewards programs and more your winter tasting tour will be unlike any other. Read on for a list of all of the fun new things you’ll find on the trail this winter that will allow you to enjoy it safely.

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Makers Trail Gift Guide

Find fun and unique holiday gift ideas for the beer, wine, cider or spirits lover in your life. Shop small and support local businesses and makers in Southwest Michigan by purchasing the items below.

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Mt. Tabor Trails: New, One-of-a-Kind Tasting Adventure

You may have visited the Makers Trail before, but you probably have never experienced anything quite like this in Southwest Michigan. There is a whole new tasting adventure provided by Moersch Hospitality Group: Mt. Tabor Trails in Buchanan!

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Pet-friendly Makers Trail Stops

Pet Friendly Makers Trail - Livery

There’s nothing your dog loves more than spending time with you. So, next time you go out for a drink, bring them along! The Makers Trail has many wineries, breweries and distilleries that will welcome you and your pet so you can enjoy a drink and spend time with your best friend. 

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UNIQUE WINTER WINE EXPERIENCES IN SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Dablon Wine

Did you know Southwest Michigan is one of five American Viticulture Areas in Michigan? The sloping terrain along the lakeshore, mild temperatures and variety of soils make it the perfect location for growing grapes and other fruits that serve as the inspiration for a vast array of award winning wines. In fact, our growing season has been compared to noteworthy destinations such as Bordeaux, France and Piedmont, Italy.

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Most Romantic Stops Along the Makers Trail

Dablon Vineyards

The Makers Trail offers scenic views, rich wines, delicious meals and cozy tasting rooms perfect for visiting with your valentine. If you’re searching for romantic places to spend time this Valentine’s Day weekend here are a few romantic stops to consider.

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Your Guide to Enjoying the St. Joseph Winter Beer Fest

BeerFest3

With the St. Joseph Winter Beer Fest happening soon, I thought I would share some tips on how to have the most fun at the event.

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Fall Festivals Along the Makers Trail

Firkin at the Livery

With so many festivals, parties, special releases and live music, fall is the perfect time to tour the Makers Trail! Here are some of the top upcoming parties of the season at our wineries, breweries and distilleries.

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Josh’s Fall Favorites

Fall in St. Joseph, MI

Summer is definitely the most popular time to visit southwest Michigan, however, I feel that there is even more to enjoy in the fall. Here are some of my fall favorites:

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Grape and Grain Tours

GrapeandGrain

We recently asked Ashley Rojics Rubino to share how you can have more fun visiting wineries, breweries and distilleries along the Southwest Michigan Makers Trail. Here’s what she had to say about letting Grape and Grain Tours do the driving:

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Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Michigan Wine Month

LemonCreek IMG 9780

May is Michigan Wine Month, and there are many reasons to celebrate in Southwest Michigan! Here are ten ideas for making the most of your celebrations:

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"Meet The Makers" Podcast

makersheader

Listen for Jonny & Meagan from 98.3 The Coast to visit breweries, wineries and distilleries around the Makers Trail here in Southwest Michigan!

Meet The Makers Podcast

Season 3

Episode 1: Free Run Cellars

Episode 2: Red Top Winery

Episode 3: Karma Vista Winery

 

Season 2

Episode 4: Vineyard 2121

Episode 3: Round Barn Brewery & Public House

Episode 2: Lehman’s Farmhouse

Episode 1: Gravity Winery

Bonus Episode: Makers Trail 19th Hole

 

Meet The Makers Podcast

Season 1

Episode 1: North Pier Brewing Company

Episode 2: Dablon Winery & Vineyard

Episode 3: Silver Harbor Brewing Company

Episode 4: White Pine Winery

Episode 5: 12 Corners Vineyard & Winery

Episode 6: The Livery

Episode 7: Watermark Brewing Company

Episode 8: Journeyman Distillery

Episode 9: Tapistry Brewing Company

Episode 10: Arclight Brewing Company

Episode 11: Lazy Ballerina Winery

Episode 12: Baroda Founders Wine Cellars

Episode 13: Haymarket Brewery & Taproom

Episode 14: Domaine Berrien Cellars

Episode 15: Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant

Episode 16: Hickory Creek Winery

  

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Makers Trail: Not Just for Beer, Wine & Spirits Lovers

Silver Harbor Root Beer

If you’re not a fan of beer, wine or hand-crafted cocktails you might think that the Makers Trail isn’t for you. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are over 30 locations to choose from and each one brings something different to the table. Here’s why each one is worth a try.

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Find Out What's "Tappenin" at Red Top

Red Top

Red Top is a Southwest Michigan winery offering a new and innovative wine tasting experience. With enticing wines on tap, instead of in the bottle, owners Rockie & Allison have opened their doors to a completely different style of winery. A delightful ten-minute country cruise south of downtown Baroda, MI will place you at Snow Road, where the beacon of a truly wonderful wine tasting journey begins.

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Experience the Makers Trail

 

 

As a photographer and videographer for the Makers Trail, I have had the privilege of getting to speak with a variety makers and visit many of the trail locations. What really strikes me from this experience is how unique each location is. The diversity of locations, architecture, products, and overall experiences is remarkable. From quiet tasting rooms to bustling full-sensory experiences and from classic flavors to experimental concoctions there are amazing options in Berrien County.

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Meet one of our Makers Trail brewmasters

Haymarket Logo

The craft brewery scene is blazing in Southwest Michigan. New breweries are opening along our Makers Trail each year. One of the newest is Haymarket Taproom, 9301 Red Arrow Highway, Bridgman. It is the Michigan location for the much-acclaimed Haymarket Pub & Brewery, arguably the best brewpub in Chicago. We talked with award-winning Brewmaster Peter Crowley while he was on this side of the lake. Here’s what he shared:

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The Livery - Beer, Food, Music & Makers Trail

The Livery - Firkin Friday

I recently sat down with Simon Rusk, owner of The Livery, to talk about Berrien County’s oldest operating craft brewery. The building, located in the Benton Harbor Arts District, is over 100 years old and was the site of the Palace Livery, a former horse livery. In the early 2000’s a group looking to help revive the downtown area embarked to restore the building and create a microbrewery. Simon, a former lawyer, held several positions at The Livery from bartending, to brewing and management before becoming the owner about one year ago. Under his leadership, and those before him, The Livery has become a staple in downtown Benton Harbor for great beer, delicious pizza and music. Find out what Simon had to say about this local craft brewery and why Southwest Michigan is becoming a popular brewery scene, below.

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What you should know before you follow the Makers Trail

Makers Trail

Your road to craft beers, wines and spirits in Southwest Michigan.

When is the best time to tour the Makers Trail? Fall, winter, spring and summer! The Makers Trail is enjoyable year round, offering a different experience each season. With more than 30 members scattered across Southwest Michigan, you’ll have fun tasting new and long-time favorite handcrafted brews, wines and spirits. Come on your own or bring family and friends. The makers and their staffs look forward to your coming.

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