THE TWO SIGNS out front–Book World and For Sale–are incorrect.
Book World closed down two years ago, and the building was sold two months ago.
The new owners, Anne White and Scott Anderson, are planning to convert the former theater and book store into a distillery. Yep, they’ll be making gin, vodka, malt whiskey (aka Scotch), and bourbon there, with a tasting room out front, and a venue for music. Right in the heart of Marquette.
“We want to be the local gathering place for the people of Marquette,” White says. “And we want to restore as much of the old Nordic Theater as we can.”
Anticipated opening date? Late fall, maybe early winter next year.
Some local folks had been hoping to restore the old Nordic as a live theater but couldn’t come up with the money. This version of it–with a respect for its past–seems like a pretty good consolation prize.
“This has been Anne’s dream,” Anderson says. “She grew up in Marquette, she loves the town, and she’s been wanting to open a distillery here.”
White and Anderson live in Knoxville, Tennessee but they visit here often, and needless to say, will be visiting much more frequently in the months ahead.
They’ve hired an architect and a distillery consultant, they’re touring distilleries and they’re talking to distilling manufacturers.
“We want to use local ingredients as much as possible,” White says. “Corn, wheat, barley, rye, potatoes. We’d love to hear from the farming community in the U.P.”
They’ve begun the process to get federal, state, and local permits for the business. A lengthy, sometimes frustrating process? They don’t think so. They hope not.
Anderson and White have worked for years in the disposal of nuclear waste–“We’re the good guys!” she tells you–but now they’re making a turn in their lives.
The local girl is coming home with her beau, and they’re going to open a distillery.