Who the shell are we?

About Us

Our Story

So fast forward to June 2020. Great Turtle Brewery & Distillery opened its doors and ushered in a whole new chapter in the island’s dining and beverage scene. Our goal here is simple…welcome every guest to slow down (hey, it’s named Great Turtle, right?). Savor the moment, surrounded by family and friends.

Great Turtle means great times…welcome!


Great Turtle Brewery and Distillery is located on Mackinac Island – right downtown, across from Shepler’s Ferry Dock.

Currently the Health Department will not grant variances for pet friendly outdoor restaurant seeting. We can not by law accommodate any non service animals.

We have several menu items that are gluten free. Just ask your server about the options.

We are open from May through October every year.

There are two ferry lines that can get you to Mackinac Island. We recommend Shepler’s Ferry, located directly across Main Street from our restaurant.

Great Turtle Brewery and Distillery does not take reservations for peak season (June – August) or weekends outside of season.  We do have a large dining area and strive to keep your wait time brief.

Due to the unique infrastructure of Mackinac Island, Great Turtle Brewery and Distillery is unable to brew on-site. We have partnered with award winning Right Brain Brewery out of Traverse City to provide our Northern Michigan made beers.

Great Turtle Brewery and Distillery will offer up to nine custom beers this season on draft (some are seasonal). We also have a rotating taps of popular Michigan Craft. Ask your server for what on tap the day of your visit.

We have our own private label Great Turtle Gin, Vodka, Whiskey and Rum  distilled by High Five Spirits in Petoskey, MI. We also carry a large selection of popular brands of spirits.

Great Turtle Brewery and Distillery loves families! We offer a great kid’s menu and cater to family members of all ages. Bring your whole family and have a fantastic time!

About Mackinac

Mackinac Island, located at the north end of Lake Huron between Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas is the Jewel of the Great Lakes. The island is a popular vacation destination, annually drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to its beautiful shores. For centuries, the island played an integral role in the lives of local Native Americans. In fact, the word “Michilimackinac” means “Great Turtle”, and comes from the story of the island’s creation. Today, we celebrate our great island home and welcome you to enjoy all it has to offer.

Meet our people

Justin Barnes

Director of Operations

For 30 years, I have been working in the restaurant business and have held every position from Dishwasher to Director of Operations. My favorite cocktail is a Vieux Carre – a combination of rye whiskey and cognac mixed with bold flavors. When I get a day off, I am a habitual golfer and love boating. Over the winter months, you will find me on a ski hill or traveling with my family. When I get to the island for leisure, my favorite thing to do is bike M-185.  We hope you enjoy your time at Great Turtle!

Chad Hoeksema

General Manager

I have been in the food and bar industry for 24 years – 20 of them on beautiful Mackinac Island.  I get asked about what I like to drink, and I guess I would have to say I love trying a variety of drinks but my favorites would be a nice dark rich stout or a classic vodka and soda.  In season, I love to explore Northern Michigan and find some hot fishing spots, off-season I will be deep sea fishing in the Florida Keys, traveling with my wife, Pearl, and being a great uncle to my 4 nephews and 1 beautiful niece. My favorite thing to do on a night off?  Nothing beats a nice peaceful sunset cruise around Mackinac on one of the island’s beautiful evenings.

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