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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