Long Road Distillers

Grand Rapids Distillery Awarded Top Honors at SIP Awards, World’s Largest Consumer Tasting Competition

Long Road Distillers adds to recent international acclaim and awarded a Platinum Medal for Long Road Gin, and Gold Medals for Long Road Aquavit and Long Road Vodka.

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Internationally recognized Grand Rapids distillery, Long Road Distillers, announced three new awards from the world’s largest consumer tasting competition. At this year’s SIP Awards, the distillery won a Platinum Medal, the highest honors, for Long Road Gin, and added two new Gold Medals for Long Road Aquavit and Long Road Vodka.

Long Road’s award-winning line-up of spirits are made from 100 percent locally grown grain and are made 100 percent on-site at the distillery on Grand Rapids’ West Side. Both Long Road Gin and Long Road Aquavit have been recognized as “Best in the World” at recent international competitions; recognition that the Long Road team attributes to several factors, locally grown ingredients.

“Every one of our spirits start from the finest, locally-sourced ingredients,” said Brian Pribyl, Head Distiller at Long Road. “We owe a ton of credit to our suppliers, like Heffron Farms and Pilot Malt House, who continue to provide us with top-notch wheat, rye, corn and barley, grown right here in West Michigan. We’re proud to show off the amazing agriculture we have available to us through the spirits we craft at Long Road.”

Nearly 500 spirits brands from around the world were entered into the 2016 SIP Awards, held in Newport Beach, California. A panel of 98 pre-qualified, consumer judges evaluated each spirit separately, in a double blind manner, based on preset tasting rules, using the SIP Awards’ patented delivery system to ensure a consistent, focused, and accurate survey of consumer impressions in each category. Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals were awarded in 59 categories.

Long Road Gin was the highest rated domestic gin, winning a Platinum Medal, and Long Road Aquavit was awarded a Gold Medal and named Best Aquavit, an honor the spirit also won in Denver, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle.

“We’re extremely proud of our team for all of the hard work they have put in to get us to this point,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner of Long Road Distillers. “Our no shortcuts approach, combined with quality ingredients and amazing talent, continues to reaffirm our commitment to making world-class spirits right here in our city!”

For more information about Long Road Distillers please visit: www.longroaddistillers.com.

For more information about the SIP Awards please visit: www.SIPAwards.com.

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About Long Road Distillers:

Long Road Distillers was born from the belief that making world-class spirits means never taking shortcuts along the way. After becoming the first craft distillery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Long Road Distillers formed relationships with local farmers to bring that mission to Grand Rapids’ West Side neighborhood. Each spirit produced at Long Road Distillers is milled from locally sourced ingredients, fermented, and distilled on-site. The result is an uncompromised lineup of spirits including Vodka, Gin, Whisky and more. Their spirits, along with a handcrafted collection of cocktails and a wide variety of food can be enjoyed at their tasting room.

About the SIP Awards: Catering to the opinions and palates of the discerning public, the SIP Awards present a unique spirit judging competition, unaffected by industry bias. This pragmatic and refreshing model of evaluation provides an honest stage for feedback and recognition where top brands showcase their achievements. To learn more about the SIP Awards beverage competition, venue partnerships, or for a complete list of 2016 winners, visit www.SIPAwards.com.

Long Road Distillers

The first distillery in Grand Rapids, Long Road Distillers, announced today international acclaim at the 2016 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition. This is the third international spirits competition in which the West Michigan distillery was awarded one of the top honors in 2016. The awards include Best Aquavit, six gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze medal in various packaging design and spirit categories.

“We aim to be different from other distilleries in the way we source our ingredients and craft our spirits,” said Kyle Van Strien, co-owner at Long Road Distillers. “For us to be recognized again for our Aquavit reaffirms our commitment to creating old-world spirits from locally sourced ingredients. We are proud to call Grand Rapids ‘home’ and to bring these awards and high quality spirits to the community.”

Long Road Distillers’ Aquavit, which earned Best Aquavit in the international competition, is a staple of Scandinavian culture, often found at festive gatherings. Embracing time-honored distillation methods, Long Road distillers crafts an Aquavit that’s made in Michigan yet true to its Northern European roots.

Long Road Distillers received the following awards at the 2016 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition:

  •     Gold Medal, Best Aquavit – Long Road Aquavit
  •     Silver Medal – Long Road Gin
  •     Bronze Medal – Long Road Vodka

In addition to spirit taste-based awards, Long Road Distillers was recognized for their packaging design—a category somewhat unique to the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition. This category awards spirits based on their look and presentation. Long Road Distillers received five of 36 packaging design awards – all five Gold Medals – including Best Series, Best Typography, and Best Design Aesthetics.

“We don’t cut corners with our spirits, and the same is true for the way we present them,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner at Long Road Distillers. “We’re excited to share this recognition not only with our team at the distillery, but also our graphic designer and copywriter who have been with us since we first dreamt up Long Road over two years ago.”

The 6th Annual Los Angeles International Spirits Competition was held on May 10 & 11, 2016 at Fairplex in Pomona, California. Participants entered products within the categories of rum, whiskey, gin, shochu, vodka, brandy, liqueurs, tequila, mixers, other spirits and packaging design. The products were judged in a blind format ranked on a 100-point scale by a prestigious panel of 20 world renowned spirits authorities.

In addition to these awards, Long Road Distillers has garnered a multitude of international honors for their line of spirits. The most notable accolades were earned at three major spirits competitions and include three double-gold medals, six gold medals, two silver medals, three bronze medals and multiple best in show recognitions. The West Michigan Distillery was recently named one of the “Best New Distilleries in the World”, and has also expanded distribution to over 200 Michigan locations in the past year.

For more information about Long Road Distillers please visit: http://www.longroaddistillers.com

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About Long Road Distillers:
Long Road Distillers was born from the belief that making world-class spirits means never taking shortcuts along the way. After becoming the first craft distillery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Long Road Distillers formed relationships with local farmers to bring that mission to Grand Rapids’ West Side neighborhood. Each spirit produced at Long Road Distillers is milled from locally sourced ingredients, fermented, and distilled on-site. The result is an uncompromised lineup of spirits including Vodka, Gin, Whisky and more. Their spirits, along with a handcrafted collection of cocktails and a wide variety of food can be enjoyed at their tasting room.

Long Road Distillers

We were recently mentioned in the Eat Local West Michigan blog! Check it out below.

We all know Grand Rapids is Beer City, but there’s a big chance “Spirit City” will make its way into the Grand Rapids lexicon the near future. Since 2013, nearly 40 distilleries have popped up all over Michigan, with about five of them calling Grand Rapids their home. Compared to the rest of the nation, Michigan is third in craft distilling.

New Holland Brewing Company was ahead of the curve when the brewery began distilling in 2005 and started to sell their spirits in 2008. New Holland started out with gin, whiskey and rum and has since then added vodka and liqueur to the lineup.

There’s a reason, however, why beer has seen a huge boom and distilling is just getting geared up. It all has to do with distilling laws and a lot of red tape. Michigan has been able to thrive in distilling recently because of the state’s legislature. Each state has its own laws on distilling, with some being more progressive than others. Distillers looking to open up shop have to go through local, state and federal laws. This includes getting labels and formulas approved, zoning ordinances and keeping track of customer purchases. Some states, like Arizona, didn’t even offer distilling licenses until about a year ago.

Read more here!

Long Road Distillers

Anticipation and curiosity.

They always greet the debut of a new performance venue, and such was the case Saturday night for Long Road Distillers on Leonard Street NW in Grand Rapids when it officially christened “The Rickhouse” upstairs, attracting a sizable and lively crowd.

Of course, it helps when you pump up the lineup with one of Grand Rapids’ hottest psych-rock bands, Heaters, and add popular hip hop artist Lady Ace Boogie (plus special guests) to the mix — both of whom didn’t disappoint the audience with engaging sets that showed off the venue’s sound capability. What the upstairs quarters lack in terms of stage lighting (which amounted to a flashing string of Christmas lights), it makes up for with a groovy, enticing atmosphere.

Long Road Distillers will host live music regularly in coming months, with everyone from Mark Lavengood to Hannah Rose & The Gravestones to Alexander Lynch playing the distillery/bar at 537 Leonard St. NW. Check out the photo gallery here, with some video snippets below.

Full story and photo gallery available here.

Long Road Distillers

Grand Rapids, MI –  In only its first year of production, Long Road Distillers was named “Michigan Vodka Distillery of the Year” at the New York International Spirits Competition. The famed competition, now in its sixth year, judges nearly 500 world-class spirits each year. Submissions were made from over 35 countries, which were tasted and evaluated by an accomplished panel of judges.

In an industry crowded with international corporations and non-distiller producers, Long Road Distillers is setting a new standard for how spirits are produced—not only for Michigan, but also for the region as a whole. Each spirit in their growing lineup is sourced as locally as possible, milled from whole grain, and fermented on-site—never being treated with carbon or charcoal filtration techniques to maintain a smooth finish and full body.

“This is obviously an exciting achievement for us in our very first year,” commented Kyle Van Strien, Long Road Co-Founder. “We’re thrilled to be a part of the growing craft distilling movement in Michigan and around the country, and we’re humbled to receive this honor, particularly in a very challenging competition often dominated by much larger brands.”

Long Road Distillers was also awarded a bronze medal for Long Road Vodka, a classic spirit boasting surprising hints of vanilla, caramel, toffee, and biscuit. “Long Road is fortunate to have access to the rich agricultural resources of West Michigan which serve as the foundation of all of our spirits, said Jon O’Connor, Long Road’s other Co-Founder.” This medal and the individual award reinforce our commitment to crafting world-class spirits in an honest and transparent manner. We look forward to building upon this initial recognition in the years to come as we expand our spirit offerings.”

The New York International Spirits Competition was founded in 2010 and takes place annually in New York City. The panel consists of trade-only judges, comprised of retail buyers, restaurant and bar owners, beverage directors, distributors and importers. Together, they evaluate entries received from around the globe. The full results can be read at nyispiritscompetition.com.

About Long Road Distillers

Long Road Distillers was born from the belief that making world-class spirits means never taking shortcuts along the way. After becoming the first craft distillery in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Long Road Distillers formed relationships with local farmers to bring that mission to Grand Rapids’ West Side neighborhood. Each spirit produced at Long Road Distillery is milled from locally sourced ingredients and fermented on-site. The result is an uncompromised lineup of spirits – including Vodka, Gin, and White Whisky – a handcrafted collection of cocktails, and a wide variety of food options.

Long Road Distillers

There is an added sense of connectivity when we frequent the places that reside within a few miles of our home. When a business puts down roots in the neighborhood where owners and workers and goers live, a deeper sense of community grows. Long Road Distillers, located in Grand Rapids West Side, is more than the city’s first distillery, it a place where people commune together over unique, handcrafted cocktails. Owners Kyle Van Strien and Jon O’Connor call the West Side Grand Rapids neighborhood home; the elbows of guests lean on the dark wooden tables in the dining space, wearing them down with story; the bartenders behind the bar craft a unique drink of homegrown flavor. It is as much about the spirits being consumed as the souls in the room.

Long Road honors the journey, respects the craft, and takes no shortcuts. Their story encompasses the local community. At Long Road their ingredients come from Michigan, from the places they know and places that resemble home. Whether it be wheat, corn, rye, fruit, or cider it has a Michigan label. They are, as Van Strien shared “highlighting what we have available.” Long Road is an in-house distillery, making everything on location. They are perfecting the art of draft cocktails, stepping out, doing new things, and embracing the long road.

We are delighted to have Long Road Distillers joining us at Fork Fest this week Thursday, October 22. They will be on site with their draft Gin and Tonic, as well as Teta’s Lemonade (vodka, lemon, lavender syrup, rose water). Stop by their bar and give one of these a try!

Interested in learning more about Long Road? Sign up to take one of their tours. Or stop by for a midweek dinner and drink. They are open seven days a week and house a delicious food menu. They also recently expanded their upstairs space which can be rented out for private events, wedding receptions, and corporate events. Find out more at longroaddistillers.com.

Local First of West Michigan, Mallory Huizenga

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