“Here we kind of just put our head down and work in our own bubble to some degree, which is kind of why I think the product we put out is really good -- we’re more focused on the work than the recognition,” Levine offers.
Robinson also points out that there is a simple issue of allocation -- Detroit gets product a year or two after the big cities do. When something like Ancho Reyes comes out in all the major markets, it’s already been used in cocktails, with the most natural pairings already thoroughly explored, by the time it finally shows up in Detroit. The challenge for him, then, is using it in a different way.
“The attention is on the larger markets, which it deservedly should be,” he says diplomatically. “That’s where this cocktail renaissance really took off and what inspired us. Moving forward, we can’t do what they’ve already done; we need to make it our own. Detroit’s kind of always been bubbling under the surface, and I kind of like it that way.”
Detroit's cocktail scene is the kind only possible when people have the freedom to do whatever the fuck they want to do because they had nothing left to lose anyway. Down economy? Fuck it, let’s open a bar. No one knows what the hell we’re doing? Then we’ll teach them, and they’ll love it. Oh, now all of a sudden Detroit is the hottest of the hot places for somewhat-moneyed millennials to move? Sure, we’ll take your money. Here, have a drink, and please enjoy our custom-welded bike racks out front for your Detroit-made fixies!