International Flavored Vodka Tasting Event Awards Grand Rapids Distillery with Double Gold
Long Road’s Wendy Peppercorn Vodka stands out from a crowded field of flavored spirits.
Grand Rapids, Michigan – Internationally recognized Grand Rapids distillery, Long Road Distillers, announced more top honors for their line-up of spirits, this time coming from a competition in New York City. The distillery was awarded a Double Gold medal for Long Road Wendy Peppercorn at The Fifty Best Flavored Vodka tasting event.
The award-winning-101-proof spirit is made from 100 percent locally grown red winter wheat, milled, mashed, fermented and distilled on-site at the Westside distillery, then redistilled with pink peppercorns, the berry from the Peruvian Peppertree. Non-chill filtration techniques give all of Long Road spirits a smooth, handcrafted taste rather than the overly processed, astringent flavors that result from the carbon and charcoal filtration technique used by many. Wendy Peppercorn is a whopping 101 proof, or 50.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), a full 10.5% higher than any of the other entries in the Fifty Best competition.
“As far as we know, Wendy Peppercorn is the only pink peppercorn flavored vodka in the world,” said Co-Owner Kyle VanStrien. “Pink peppercorn happens to be one of the botanicals in our gin, and since we’re distilling each gin botanical individually, we discovered that we loved pink peppercorn all by itself!”
“We’re products of the 80’s,” said Co-Owner Jon O’Connor in reference to the name Wendy Peppercorn. “Most of us on the Long Road team grew up watching the movie The Sandlot. We all remember the scene where Michael “Squints” Palledorous expressed his passion for Wendy Peffercorn, the lifeguard at the community pool, and we feel the same way about this vodka! This is our nod to a classic movie for our generation, and a fun way for us to play up the high proof of this spirit. Wendy 101 has a great ring to it, but we’ve also left the spirit at 101 proof to amplify the flavors and keep the essential oils that carry over in the distillation process suspended.” Similar to an absinthe or ouzo, Wendy Peppercorn will cloud up with the addition of water, altering the aromas, texture, and flavor to make the spirit more floral and fruity.
Spirits from around the world were entered into the Fifty Best event. 17 pre-qualified judges evaluated each spirit separately based on preset tasting rules. Each spirit was served to judges in fresh glasses from newly sealed bottles and was served slightly above room temperature to ensure optimum flavor. Judges noted their nose, palate and finish impressions of Long Road Wendy Peppercorn, which provided, “attractive spice notes, a wonderful mouthfeel, and a surprisingly sweet, soft and subtle finish.” The judges added that it would be, “perfect for a Bloody Mary!”
Long Road Distillers has garnered a multitude of international honors for their line of spirits. The most notable accolades were earned at the world’s largest spirits competitions and include several “Best in Show” awards, nearly a dozen double-gold medals, and numerous gold, silver and bronze medals. The West Michigan Distillery has also expanded distribution to over 400 Michigan grocers, specialty retailers, and bars and restaurants in the past year.
“This has been a huge year of progress for Long Road,” said O’Connor. “Every award won and distribution expansion made motivates our team to stay committed to our mission and values. We look forward to what the future has in store for our distillery.”