From Granite to 'On the Rocks'
A closer look at a passion for business and an enthusiasm for whiskey.
Written By: Emily Giebink
Gary Roberts and David Grosam have co-owned and operated The Granite Company in Green Bay since 2013. They proudly offer one of the largest variety of custom stone countertops in Northeast Wisconsin. They have about 1,000 slabs of granite and feature around 900 colors of beautiful quartz inside its showroom.
"I think our customer service and our quality are what set us apart from others," said David.
Their hard work can be found in new constructions as well as remodels throughout the area. Their goal is to always provide incredible quality and to make the installation of countertops, sinks, and faucets a flawless event, so the process is as fun and as exciting as enjoying your new countertops.
Grosam and Roberts are always hard at work, but when it's time for a little fun and relaxation, they enjoy exploring the world of whiskey. It's a hobby that started a couple of years ago with their own "Whiskey Club." The club consists of a small group of friends from church, bowling league, and family.
"Every month we taste three whiskeys neat. We then discuss, rank them and share the names of each whiskey and talk about which ones we liked best," said David.
The art of distilling is truly a spirit of the world with several varieties from across the globe. It's a skill practiced for more than a thousand years.
"You begin learning more and more and how big it is in Kentucky and the history of it and how it's made and you kind of go through this rabbit hole," said Gary. "It's gone from whiskey to rye whiskey to scotch to Irish whiskey."
"We now can tell by the first sip what type and kind of whiskey it is we're tasting, " added David.
While Gary and David continued down the rabbit hole they found a unique opportunity to create their own whiskey.
They did their research and were able to connect with The Foundry Distilling Company in Des Moines, Iowa. This would turn into a delicious adventure for the two co-workers to create their own recipe.
They would get to develop the mash, determine what kind of whiskey, what blend, what char of the barrel, what yeast would be used. Then the exciting part; David and Gary would travel down to The Foundry Distilling Company for two days to help distill it.
They're left with a large 30-gallon barrel and a five-gallon barrel. The five-gallon barrel is complete and has been put into 30 bottles, while the 30-gallon barrel will sit for another year and a half before it is complete. The 30-gallon barrel will yield 180 bottles. David and Gary tell me they plan to bottle about half of the large barrel and let the rest continue to age for a while.
The final touches on the bottles would be the artwork. Gary's daughter, Grace, who is an art student in Chicago, would create the custom logo which is cleverly labeled, "Don't take us for Granite."
They can never sell the whiskey legally, but David and Gary say that's alright with them because that was never their goal. They have loved getting to take part in the process. Understanding the science, chemistry, and learning the history of whiskey. They tell me they can't wait to share their whiskey with family and friends, but they are most looking forward to getting feedback from their fellow Whiskey Club members when they can start meeting again.
"I would love to have them try this and I would want to make sure they don't know which is which," said David.
What I noticed about David and Gary during our interview was their genuine excitement to share what they know about whiskey; the different tastes, smells, finishes, and what they've learned. That same excitement is exemplified in their business and their hopes for the future of trade careers in home construction.
"There are a lot of opportunities and we're always looking for the best people," said David. "If you're coming out of high school or college, there's lots of opportunities for you."
The Granite Company currently has 30 employees that are ready to exceed your expectations when it comes to their quality and service. So if you're looking for a recommendation on countertops or whiskey, you can find David and Gary just off Highway 41 at 1130 S. Taylor Street in Green Bay.