Long Road Distillers Wins Dozens of New Honors at National Competitions
Distillery earns 25 new medals, plus “Best Of” honors in 2 categories at ACSA and ADI Awards

Long Road Distillers announced their results from two national spirits competitions today. Honors include Double Gold recognition for Long Road Original Aquavit and Raspberry Liqueur, and Gold for Long Road Amaro Pazzo and Dry Gin. The distillery’s Aquavit also earned the title of Best of Class Specialty Spirit and Best of Category, taking home another “Best Aquavit” honor from a major spirits competition. Amaro Pazzo also earned Best of Class and Best of Category accolades as “Best Liqueur” and “Best Coffee Liqueur” in the U.S.

The American Craft Distillers Association (ACSA) held their annual Judging of Craft Spirits Awards virtually on August 24 where results were announced with over 500 entrants in eight categories.
On August 25, the American Distilling Institute (ADI) held an in-person ceremony in Louisville, KY to announce the results of their annual Judging of Craft Spirits competition. Over 1,000 entrants battled for honors in twelve categories.

“It’s always an honor to earn this sort of recognition from the ACSA and ADI competitions,” said co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers, Kyle VanStrien. “The judging panels from both are comprised of our peers and industry professionals who are working with top-quality spirits on a daily basis.”

2021 American Distillers Institute Judging of Craft Spirits Awards Results
Long Road Amaro Pazzo ~ Gold Medal, Best of Category (Coffee Liqueur), Best of Class (Liqueur)
Long Road Original Aquavit ~ Double Gold Medal, Best of Category (Aquavit), Best of Class (Specialty Spirit)
Long Road Raspberry Liqueur ~ Double Gold Medal, Best of Category (Fruit Liqueur)
Long Road Dry Gin ~ Gold Medal
Long Road Nocino ~ Silver Medal
Long Road Old Aquavit ~ Silver Medal
Long Road Polish Falcon Canned Cocktail ~ Silver Medal
Long Road Silver Rum ~ Silver Medal
Long Road Teta’s Lemonade Canned Cocktail ~ Silver Medal
Long Road Grand Absinthe ~ Bronze Medal
Long Road GnT Canned Cocktail ~ Bronze Medal
Long Road Orange Liqueur ~ Bronze Medal

2021 American Craft Spirits Association Judging of Craft Spirits Results
Long Road Raspberry Liqueur ~ Silver Medal
Long Road Dry Gin ~ Silver Medal
Long Road MICHIGIN ~ Silver Medal
Long Road Silver Rum ~ Silver Medal
Long Road Apple Brandy ~ Bronze Medal
Long Road Orange Liqueur ~ Bronze Medal
Long Road Grand Absinthe ~ Bronze Medal
Long Road Old Aquavit ~ Bronze Medal
Long Road Aquavit ~ Bronze Medal
Long Road Straight Bourbon ~ Bronze Medal
Long Road Straight American Whisky ~ Bronze Medal
Long Road Polish Falcon Canned Cocktail ~ Bronze Medal
Long Road Teta’s Lemonade Canned Cocktail ~ Bronze Medal

Long Road’s line-up of spirits can be found at their four tasting rooms in Michigan, as well as at over 2,500 retailers and restaurants throughout the state.

Long Road Distillers has rolled out a new line-up of canned craft cocktails. The Grand Rapids distillery based the new offering on a few of their most popular cocktails since opening their doors over five years ago.

“We’ve always had a dream to put some of our favorite cocktails into a ready-to-drink format,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers. “We were finally able to focus on fine-tuning recipes and acquiring the licenses and equipment necessary to can a product that lived up to our exceptionally high standards.”

Four packs of the following cocktails are now available for purchase:

  • The Polish Falcon ~ Long Road Original Vodka, house made ginger beer and lime juice.
  • Long Road GnT ~ Long Road Dry Gin and house tonic.
  • Teta’s Lemonade ~ Long Road Original Vodka, house lavender syrup, fresh lemon juice and rosewater.

The canned cocktails offer a convenient way to enjoy Long Road spirits without the legwork of mixing up a drink at home. Simply crack open a chilled can and enjoy. Each offering is 10% alcohol by volume in a 12oz can, containing the equivalent of slightly more than one cocktail per can.

“We understand that convenience is king, particularly during the summer in Michigan,” said Kyle VanStrien, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers. “We’re excited to bring some of our favorites to market, and we look forward to expanding offerings and distribution footprint in the future.”

To start, Long Road canned cocktails will be available for purchase from their tasting rooms in Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Boyne City.

Grand Rapids distillery, Long Road Distillers, has been nominated as the Best Distillery in the country in multiple categories as part of the annual USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards. On Monday, the company announced it has been nominated as the “Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery”“Best Craft Gin Distillery”, and “Best Craft Brandy Distillery” for 2020. This marks the fourth time that Long Road was nominated in the “Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery” category.

Over their five-year history the distillery has gained national and international attention for their award-winning, locally-sourced and craft-distilled line-up of spirits, including gins, vodkas, liqueurs and whiskies.

The public will choose the winners by casting votes on 10best.com/awards. Each person may vote for their favorites once per day until Monday, September 14. Winners will be announced on September 25. Quick links to Long Road’s nominations can be found at https://longroaddistillers.com/10best/.

Long Road Distillers is one of 20 nominees, in each category, from around the country that were carefully chosen by a panel of American spirits experts. The nominating panel includes Wayne Curtis, renowned spirits and cocktail author of books including “And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails”, Brian Christensen, publisher and editor of Artisan Spirit Magazine, Ziggy Eschliman, founder of ZigStyle and award-winning radio host, Eric Grossman, a food and beverage writer and author of Craft Spirits, and Jack Robertiello, a writer and acclaimed wine and spirits judge.

“We’re incredibly proud to receive nominations in multiple categories again this year,” said Kyle VanStrien, co-owner and founder of Long Road Distillers. “We’re fortunate to be part of a thriving craft beverage scene in Michigan. While it feels odd to celebrate such honors in light of the challenges our industry is currently facing, we’re happy for the attention it can bring to our region.”

The distillery is quick to point out how these awards are different from many other competitions, and that they will be relying on their loyal supporters and the community in West Michigan to help them top the list of winners.

“Unlike many competitions where the judging takes place behind closed doors, this contest puts the power in the hands of those that enjoy our spirits and those who have supported us over the past several years,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and founder of Long Road Distillers. “We’re humbled by these nominations and hopeful that we can spread the word far and wide to take home a few new honors for Grand Rapids!”

Long Road’s no-shortcuts approach to crafting spirits and a dedication to using locally sourced ingredients has earned them numerous honors and awards, as well as international acclaim for some lesser-known spirits categories, such as Aquavit. Their spirits can be found at the distillery on Grand Rapids’ West Side, at tasting rooms in Grand Haven and Boyne City, and at over 2,100 retailers, bars, and restaurants throughout the state of Michigan.

A group of 86 Michigan restaurant and bar owners today announced a new initiative to ensure the health and safety of their employees, customers and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. By signing the Michigan Restaurant Promise, restaurant and bar owners commit their establishments to upholding the State of Michigan and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on West Michigan and many businesses – particularly bars and restaurants – have suffered,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. “It’s great to see this group rally together to protect the health and safety of their employees, customers and our community.”

“It’s frustrating to see bars and restaurants not enforcing the health and safety guidelines laid out to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” said Chris Andrus, owner of Mitten Brewing. “Those establishments threaten to undo the many sacrifices our community and industry have made and undermine the hard work of establishments like mine committed to keeping the public safe.”

“As restaurant owners and managers, we feel a sense of responsibility for the health and well-being of our employees, our guests and the community at large,” said Kris Spaulding, owner of Brewery Vivant. “That’s why we started this initiative – to show our communities we are taking this seriously and are committed to protecting their health and safety.”

“Though our entire industry is fighting for survival, our greatest concern is the safety of our team members and guests,” said Kyle VanStrien, owner of Long Road Distillery. “We are committed to working together and holding one another accountable, and I am proud to sign onto this pledge.”

“Small businesses are the heart of West Michigan and it’s great to see this group of local restaurant and bar owners be leaders in putting people first,” said Hanna Schulze, president of Local First. “The Michigan Restaurant Promise can serve as a model for other communities to hold their local businesses accountable and encourage them to prioritize the health and wellbeing of their employees and customers above all else.”

Learn more about the initiative by visiting MiRestaurantPromise.com.

Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers will celebrate their fifth anniversary this weekend with a limited release of a brand-new offering, Long Road Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon Whisky.

“Obviously, we never expected to celebrate our five-year anniversary under the circumstances we find ourselves in,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers. “All of our locations are closed to dine-in service, and we’ve been producing more hand sanitizer over the past 8 weeks than craft spirits. We can’t throw the party this birthday deserves, but we’re grateful for the opportunity to still offer take-out service of spirits, cocktail kits and food.”

Unique environment aside, the distillery wanted to mark the anniversary with something special. The Bottled-In-Bond designation is a significant milestone in the life of a distillery, and carries with it certain requirements that go above and beyond the average bourbon.

A bottled-in-bond whisky must be distilled in a single distilling season for a single distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least 4 years, and bottled at 100 proof. All these requirements were established by the Bottled-In-Bond Act of 1897. As the label on Long Road’s Bottled-In-Bond expression calls out, this bourbon is quite literally “Bottled-In-Bond Under U.S. Government Supervision”.

Only a single barrel of Long Road Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon will be available this week, less than 180 bottles in total.

Since Governor Whitmer issued an Executive Order on March 16 to shut down dining rooms of bars and restaurants, the team at Long Road Distillers has shifted gears to produce hand sanitizer and to offer take-out of Cocktail Kits, craft spirits, and more recently food from their Grand Rapids kitchen.

Orders for Long Road Bottled-In-Bond Bourbon and a variety of other spirits and kits can be placed through the Take-Out section of the company’s website www.LongRoadDistillers.com, and picked up at any of their three tasting room locations this weekend. A full list of days and hours of operation are available on the site.

Over the course of the last month, Long Road Distillers has shifted from producing Michigan-made craft spirits to Michigan-made hand sanitizer in order to help meet the tremendous needs of the community during the current outbreak. To help speed up the process, the Grand Rapids distillery has partnered with several Michigan breweries to provide beer that can be distilled and converted into ethyl alcohol, the primary ingredient in hand sanitizer.

“We have all of the equipment on site to produce hand sanitizer from scratch,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner of Long Road Distillers. “Our two large stills allow us to take fermented grain or fruit and turn it into 190 proof neutral spirit, much like we do in the process of producing our vodka.”

For Long Road, the pinch point in speeding up production is fermentation capacity. To overcome that roadblock, they are now working with several Michigan breweries who are providing beer that can be run through the still. To date, Long Road has partnered with The Mitten Brewing Company, Founders Brewing Company, Perrin Brewing Company and Shorts Brewing Company. Some of the beer had been kegged for restaurant use, while some was brewed by the companies specifically for the purpose of distilling into sanitizer.

“The craft beverage world has always been about creativity, excellence and service,” said Chris Andrus, co-owner of The Mitten Brewing Company. “This effort is just a natural extension of that; quickly working together to solve problems and meet a need in our community.”

So far, Long Road Distillers has worked with nearly 300 health care providers, nursing homes, grocers, social service agencies and other essential businesses to provide sanitizer to keep patients, residents, employees and customers safe. Their ability to offer this is due in large part to those who have come to the support of the distillery at this time.

“We’re fortunate to have such a collaborative beverage community in Michigan!” exclaimed Kyle VanStrien, co-owner of Long Road Distillers. “The willingness of our friends to step up and help us in this effort has certainly been one of the brightest silver linings during these difficult days.”

Long Road Hand Sanitizer is available for purchase in individual spray bottles and in bulk refill jugs, with primary focus given to front-line providers and essential businesses and their employees at this time. Interested organizations may submit inquiries about procuring sanitizer through Long Road’s website: www.LongRoadDistillers.com/handsanitizer/

A limited number of individual spray bottles are being sold to the public through the distillery’s weekly take-out service, and orders must be placed in advance through the takeout link on their website. Pick-up of sanitizer, as well as cocktail kits and bottles-to-go are offered Thursdays (12-5p) and Fridays (12-6p) in Grand Rapids, and Saturdays (10a-2p) from their Grand Haven location. Long Road Hand Sanitizer can also be found at several local retailers.

Limited-release Long Road MICHIGIN® will be available at the distillery and statewide November 14

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers will release Batch No. 4 of their award-winning MICHIGIN® on Thursday, November 14 when their doors open at 4 pm. The gin is crafted from 100% Michigan ingredients, including red winter wheat grown by Heffron Farms in Belding, and juniper hand-harvested on Beaver Island.

In 2017, MICHIGIN® was named the “Best Gin in the World” and awarded a Double Gold Medal at the Fifty Best Competition in New York City. Ever since, the Michigan-made spirit has been highly sought after and one of the distillery’s most popular products. Each batch is eagerly anticipated not only by visitors of the distillery, but by retailers and bars throughout Michigan.

“Crafting MICHIGIN® is such an important part of who we are as a distillery” says Kyle VanStrien, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road. “The adventure of making this product from scratch is the epitome of what we’re all about – creating products that are world-class and doing it the right way, all while using locally sourced ingredients.”

The gin’s base spirit is distilled from red winter wheat from nearby Heffron Farms in Belding, Michigan that was milled on site at the distillery on Grand Rapids’ West Side. It has been redistilled with a variety of Michigan botanicals, including Beaver Island juniper, lemon verbena, spearmint and fennel from Visser Farms in Zeeland, and Galena hops from the Michigan Hop Alliance in Northport. The resulting gin is unlike any other and offers a clean, fresh taste of Michigan from start to finish.

Juniper is commonly sourced through purveyors from Europe or the Pacific Northwest, however it also grows native throughout parts of Michigan. For the past four years, the Long Road team has traveled to Beaver Island, approximately 30 miles northwest of Charlevoix, to hand harvest juniper berries that grow in abundance there. Despite the extra work that goes into producing MICHIGIN®, the distillery insists the resulting gin and the connection to Michigan farmers and Beaver Island make it all worthwhile.

“By harvesting our own juniper and working with local farmers to produce MICHIGIN®, we’re able to create something with a uniquely Michigan terroir,” says Kyle Shutz, Long Road’s Head Distiller. “Each year, the recipe is fine-tuned to more fully represent what we love about our State.”

MICHIGIN®, initially, has the familiar aroma of fresh pine and juniper berries, but quickly transitions into scents of cucumber, cedar, and tropical fruits. The rich juniper flavor leads the way at first taste and gradually shifts to notes of melon, vanilla, and hints of bright citrus and mint. It’s sure to please in a gin cocktail, on the rocks, or all by itself.

On Thursday, November 14, the distillery is hosting a MICHIGIN® Release Event at their Grand Rapids location to celebrate the new batch. From 4 pm to midnight, guests will be able to enjoy $5 MICHIGIN cocktails and have their first opportunity to purchase bottles of Long Road MICHIGIN® Batch No. 4 to take home.

Long Road is also hosting three complimentary MICHIGIN® Experience Tour & Tastings, offering guests a behind-the-scenes look at the making of MICHIGIN® and a sampling of three unique batches: Batch No. 3, Batch No. 4 and Batch No. 2 Barrel Reserve. To participate, guests are encouraged to reserve a complimentary ticket for one of the offered tour times – 6, 7 or 8 pm – online.

In addition to the distillery’s three tasting room locations (Grand Rapids, Grand Haven, Boyne City), Long Road MICHIGIN® is also available in statewide distribution for licensed retailers, bars and restaurants through Imperial Beverage Company, who distributes Long Road’s portfolio of spirits.

For more information about Long Road Distillers or to find out how you can get your hands on MICHIGIN®, please visit: www.longroaddistillers.com.

Release night specials include half-off samples and featured cocktails

Grand Rapids, Michigan – On Thursday, October 31, Long Road Distillers will release their much-anticipated Long Road Grand Absinthe. The release of this bright green spirit falls on Halloween and will include release night specials like half-off sample pours and featured spooky cocktails.

Absinthe has a long and complicated history, and until recently was banned for sale and consumption in many countries, including the United States. The wormwood infused spirit was once thought to cause hallucinations and other negative side effects. However, myths were dispelled over time, and the ban on absinthe was lifted in the U.S. in 2007.

“We’re excited to bring another unique product to the table,” said Long Road co-owner and co-founder Jon O’Connor. “Long Road Grand Absinthe is perfect in a Sazerac and other classic cocktails, or as an absinthe drip with ice cold water and a sugar cube.”

In addition to wormwood, Long Road Absinthe is made with fennel, star anise, sage and over a dozen other botanicals. The resulting spirit has the aroma and initial taste of herbal black licorice, with a long, complex finish. It is bottled at 125 proof and will retail for $50.00 per 750ml bottle.

Thursday’s release will take place at both the Long Road Grand Rapids and Grand Haven tasting rooms and will begin at 4 pm. Guests can enjoy half-off samples and featured cocktails as well as purchase a bottle or two to bring home for the first time.

Grand Rapids, Michigan – On Thursday, September 26, Grand Rapids craft distillery Long Road Distillers will release Vivant Big Red Coq Malt Whisky made in partnership with Brewery Vivant. This is the fifth release of the Long Road Beer City Whisky Series, a line-up of whiskies collaboratively made with local breweries who have helped earn Grand Rapids the title of “Beer City USA”. Vivant Big Red Coq Malt Whisky is distilled from the same mash as Big Red Coq Red IPA, a flagship beer from the Grand Rapids-based brewery.

“We’re excited for people to try out this latest collaborative release,” said Kyle VanStrien, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers. “Brewery Vivant has always been one of our favorite local brewers and they create some of the most unique and enjoyable beers around. We think this beer-turned-whisky is the perfect representation of their craftsmanship in spirit form.”

Grand Rapids has won the title of “Beer City USA” for several years running, and has also been named “Best Beer Town” and “Best Beer Scene” by USA TODAY readers. These titles are an acknowledgement of the many world-class breweries that call Grand Rapids home, but also a nod to the passionate beer lovers that support them.

The idea behind the Beer City Whisky Series stemmed from shared base ingredients between beer and whisky – namely, malted barley. To create the whiskies in this ongoing series, Long Road acquires brewers mash from local breweries and distills it into malt whisky on their 500 gallon Vendome Pot Still. After each beer is distilled into whisky, it is aged in new American Oak barrels for 12-24 months.

So far, Long Road Distillers has partnered with five Grand Rapids breweries for the Beer City Whisky Series and distilled some of their most popular beers: The Mitten Brewing Company (Mitten Country Strong IPA), Perrin Brewing Company (Perrin Black), Harmony Brewing Company/Harmony Hall (Harmony Black Squirrel Peated Porter), Greyline Brewing Company (Greyline Solshine), and Brewery Vivant (Big Red Coq Red IPA). A sixth release in the series is coming in late October, made in partnership with Creston Brewing Company.

Each whisky is released in-house at the distillery’s Grand Rapids tasting room in extremely small batches ranging from 100 to 200 bottles per batch.

Vivant Big Red Coq Malt Whisky will be released on Thursday, September 26 beginning at 4 pm at the distillery on Leonard Street.

In addition to having Vivant Big Red Coq Malt Whisky available for tastes, cocktails, and bottles to take home on Thursday, the culinary teams at Long Road and Brewery Vivant have put their heads together to create unique food pairings to enjoy alongside the whisky and drinks. The goal for the night is to have fun, but also to raise awareness about the collaborative spirit that exists in West Michigan.

Event details and menu descriptions can be found at www.longroaddistillers.com.

“We owe a lot of credit to the craft beer community for leading the way in elevating consumer expectations when it comes to quality, flavors, and a deeper understanding of how products are made and who is making them,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers. “This project continues to give us the opportunity to work more closely with our friends and peers in the craft beverage industry who share a deep commitment for doing things the right way – and we’re confident it shows in this whisky!”


Vegan Course:
Open Faced Sandwich with Whole Grain Bread, Mushrooms, Carrot, Candy Beets, Radish, Whiskey Coq Vinaigrette, Squash Puree, Romesco

Bison Course:
Smoked Bison Sausage made with Big Red Coq, Confit White Potatoes w/ Rosemary oil, Roasted blend of Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Fall Squash Char-Grilled Carrots

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