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Distillery growing and keeping live music alive in Niles


Photo by Max Harden

NILES — Iron Shoe Distillery is the home of regular live music in Niles. Each Wednesday night, the restaurant and spirits-makers host a variety of musicians for diners, drinkers, and music fans to enjoy. The location is host to a variety of genres, including country, rock, and pop, focused through intimate, acoustic sounds. It also serves as a space to perform for a regular line-up of homegrown artists.


“We have a steady group of local musicians that we really love,” said Laura Tuthill, owner of the distillery with her husband, Howard.


She noted they intend to always give opportunities to local performers, but they’ve also found space for traveling musicians. Recent and upcoming shows have included artists traveling from Kalamazoo and as far as Marquette and Nashville.


When asked how she goes about finding musicians to book, Tuthill noted that performers often find Iron Shoe first. She described the pleasant problem of being overwhelmed by talented musicians seeking an outlet. They’ve already booked performances through October. The regular music serves not only to entertain their customers, but to help nurture the local music scene.


“I don’t think we’ll ever give away those local spots,” she said.


Visitors to Iron Shoe will find the music on the first floor and, as weather permits, the garage door open to create an open air venue. For those looking for other ways to enjoy the summer at the restaurant, the rooftop dining space, complete with its own bar and a view over town.


While the summer season keeps the restaurant busy on its own, Tuthill is always considering new ideas for events, especially during the cooler parts of the year. In the past, they’ve hosted open mics and held fundraisers. They are partnering with the Greater Niles Chamber of Commerce, hosting their Business After Hours networking events for members. They also host a variety of classes, with an upcoming terrarium building class by the Botany Shop Tuesday, July 25 and regular classes for making arrangements with Flowers by Anna.


Iron Shoe Distillery continues to grow, moving into their newest phase as they prepare for distribution of their product. The process has included a complete label and bottle redesign, which they hope customers will see on store shelves in the coming months.


“The artwork on the labels is really creative and innovative,” Tuthill said.


To celebrate, they will soon be announcing a mid-July event to launch the new designs.


“It’s a really big deal for us,” she said. “It’s the next phase of our business.”


Keep up with the details at ironshoedistillery.com. Live music at Iron Shoe Distillery happens every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.. Information on artists and schedules can be found at facebook.com/IronShoeDistillery.


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