Long Road Distillers

Grand Rapids Distillery Claims New Honors at American Craft Spirits Association Awards

Long Road Aquavit, Old Aquavit, and Gin Awarded Medals in Crowded Field of 500+ Entrants

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Internationally recognized Grand Rapids distillery, Long Road Distillers, brought home three new honors from the American Craft Spirits Association 2018 Craft Spirits Awards, announcing Bronze Medals for Long Road Gin, Long Road Aquavit, and Long Road Old Aquavit. The awards were announced at the Annual Awards Gala as part of the Fifth Annual American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) Distillers Convention and Vendor Trade Show at the Wyndham Grand Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA on Tuesday evening.

Award winners were hand-selected from a crowded field of more than 500 entrants from across 38 states and 4 countries.

All three of Long Road’s award-winning spirits were made from 100 percent locally grown red winter wheat, milled, mashed, fermented and distilled on-site at the Westside distillery. The honors add to a growing list for the distillery, including recently being named “Best Specialty Craft Spirits Distillery in the Country” by USA Today readers.

“We’re incredibly proud for all that our team has accomplished over the past few years,” said Co-Owner Kyle VanStrien. “To be recognized by our peers for our continued hard work and dedication to the craft is truly an honor.”

The West Michigan distillery continues to expand distribution of their spirits, and is now available in over 750 Michigan grocers, specialty retailers, and bars and restaurants. They plan to release several new products in the coming months, including Long Road Straight Bourbon Whisky on April 10.

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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 on Leonard Street. www.LongRoadDistillers.com

About ACSA

The American Craft Spirits Association is the only registered non-profit trade association representing the U.S. craft spirits industry. Its mission is to elevate and advocate for the community of craft spirits producers, and membership in ACSA is open to anyone.

ACSA is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the eligible voting members of the Association. Voting members must be independent, licensed distillers (DSPs) annually removing fewer than 750,000 proof gallons from bond (the amount on which a Federal Excise Tax is paid.)

Straight Bourbon Long Road Distillers

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers will release their long anticipated Long Road Straight Bourbon Whisky on Tuesday, April 10 at the distillery on Grand Rapids’ West Side. Statewide distribution of the Bourbon will follow later in April.

Long Road Straight Bourbon Whisky is the oldest whisky released by the distillery to date. Straight whisky, by definition, must be aged at least two years in a new American Oak barrel that has been charred on the inside. Considering Long Road has only been in business for two and a half years, this Straight Bourbon Whisky was one of the first products distilled at the Grand Rapids distillery. The whisky’s mash bill consists of corn and wheat from Heffron Farms in Belding, Michigan and malted barley from Pilot Malt House in Byron Center, Michigan.

“We’re excited to finally release a Straight Bourbon into the world,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road. “We’ve experimented with countless recipes and barrel profiles, and in the end, we feel like we took the time to get this one just right, without taking shortcuts.  Sourcing spirits from other distilleries is a fairly common practice in the industry, particularly with whisky. Our ‘take no shortcuts’ approach, paired with time honored distilling techniques and locally sourced ingredients has allowed us to create a world-class bourbon from scratch on Grand Rapids’ West Side.”

Long Road Straight Bourbon has been aged in 53 gallon, new American Oak barrels for over two years. It will be bottled at 93 proof, or 46.5% alcohol by volume.

In the month leading up to the release, Long Road will be posting educational blogs and informational tidbits on the significance of Bourbon to the beverage industry, what makes a whisky “straight”, and dispelling some common misconceptions related to one of America’s native spirits.

“As a local, craft distiller, we have a unique opportunity to connect with those who enjoy our spirits,” said Kyle VanStrien, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road Distillers. “We’re able to educate consumers on the process of crafting our spirits from start to finish, and what makes them so special.”

Follow along and stay up to date on release details at www.LongRoadDistillers.com or through the distillery’s FaceBook page @longroaddistillersgr.

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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 on Leonard Street. www.LongRoadDistillers.com

Long Road Distillers

Long Road Distillers to Release Raspberry Liqueur as Part of Valentine’s Day Celebrations

Limited-Release of Long Road Michigan Raspberry Liqueur Available Beginning Wednesday, February 14

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers will release a new, limited-release liqueur on Valentine’s Day, Wednesday, February 14, beginning at 4 pm. The release of Long Road Raspberry Liqueur coincides with several other special offerings at the distillery for the holiday, including cocktail and chocolate pairings, and featured food and drinks.

Long Road Raspberry Liqueur is made with Michigan raspberries from DeLange’s Redberry Farm in nearby Hudsonville, Michigan. It will be available in limited quantities at the distillery in Grand Rapids next week, and at select retailers and restaurants beginning at the end of the month.

“We’re beginning to experiment more and more with liqueurs and other specialty spirits,” says Jon O’Connor, co-owner of Long Road Distillers. “With the diversity and abundance of agriculture that we have access to all around us in West Michigan, we have plenty of opportunities to partner with local farmers to try something new.”

For the Valentine’s Day release, Long Road will be offering half-off pours of the Raspberry Liqueur, in addition to half-off cocktails featuring the new spirit, all evening. Visitors will also have the opportunity to bring a bottle home with them.

“The timing for this release worked out perfectly,” according to Kyle VanStrien, co-owner of Long Road Distillers. “We can’t imagine a better spirit to highlight on Valentine’s Day and to pair with the chocolates we’re featuring that evening.”

In addition to the release of Long Road Raspberry Liqueur, the distillery is hosting a Cocktails, Chocolates and Spirits Pairing featuring Mokaya chocolates that were handcrafted using Long Road Spirits. Two seatings are available – at 7:00 and 8:30 pm – and the event will be hosted in the Rickhouse, the second floor special events space at the distillery. Mokaya chocolates will also be available to purchase in 4-packs to bring home, or as a pairing with your food and drinks in the restaurant.  To register for a seating, please visit: https://longroaddistillers.com/event/chocolate/

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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 on Leonard Street.www.LongRoadDistillers.com

Long Road Distillers

Get in the holiday spirit by counting down the days to Christmas with 25 holiday-inspired cocktails you can make at home!

Follow along as Long Road team members make 25 drinks leading up to Christmas – then try your hand at making them at home and impressing all your friends and family over the holidays!

We’ll post a new cocktail and recipe each day, but you can see the whole list on our website at: https://longroaddistillers.com/25-cocktails-of-christmas/

Long Road Distillers

Grand Rapids Distillery Set to Release Straight Rye Whisky & Nocino Walnut Liqueur

Limited-Release of Long Road Straight Rye Whisky Available Beginning Monday, November 20

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers will release two new spirits at their distillery on Monday, November 20 beginning at 4 pm. Long Road Straight Rye Whisky and Long Road Nocino, both limited-release offerings, will be hitting shelves just in time for the holidays.

Long Road Straight Rye Whisky is the first straight whisky made in the City of Grand Rapids’ history. Straight whisky, by definition, must be aged at least two years in a new American Oak barrel that has been charred on the inside. Having recently celebrated two years in business, Long Road Straight Rye Whisky was one of the first products distilled at the West Side distillery. The whisky’s mash bill consists of rye from Heffron Farms in Belding, Michigan and malted barley from Pilot Malt House in Byron Center, Michigan.

“We’re excited to share our first straight whisky with the world,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road. “Taking the long road meant taking no shortcuts along the way.  Sourcing spirits from other distilleries is a fairly common practice in the industry, particularly with whisky. But we want to be transparent about our spirits and we’re confident that by using locally-sourced ingredients and time-honored distilling techniques, we can create world-class spirits from scratch right here in Grand Rapids.”

Less than 200 bottles of Long Road Straight Rye Whisky will be available, in-house only.

On Monday, the distillery will also be releasing a new, seasonal spirit: Long Road Nocino, a green walnut liqueur. The Nocino starts with a base of locally sourced red winter wheat that is distilled into a neutral spirit. It is then infused with green walnuts and a variety of other spices, such as nutmeg, clove and allspice.

“This is our first adventure into specialty liqueurs, “said Kyle VanStrien, co-owner and co-founder of the distillery. “It’s the perfect holiday sipper and mixes well into lots of classic cocktails. It even pairs nicely with our Rye Whisky – the dual release isn’t a coincidence!”

Long Road Nocino will initially be available in-house only, but will go into statewide distribution beginning December 3.

On Monday, November 20, the distillery is hosting a Rye Whisky and Nocino Release Party to celebrate the new spirits. From 4 to 8 pm, guests will be able to enjoy 50% off whisky and nocino cocktails and will have their first opportunity to purchase bottles of both.

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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 on Leonard Street.www.LongRoadDistillers.com

MICHIGIN Long Road Distillers

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers will release Batch No. 2 of their award-winning MICHIGIN® on Wednesday, November 1 when their doors open at 4 pm. The gin was crafted from 100% Michigan ingredients, starting with water fresh from Lake Michigan, red winter wheat from Heffron Farms and juniper harvested by hand on Beaver Island.

In July, MICHIGIN® was named “Best Gin in the World” and awarded a Double Gold Medal at the Fifty Best Competition in New York City. Just a week after the double-blind tasting award was announced, interest and sales spiked, and the gin sold out. The re-release has been eagerly anticipated not only by the distillery but by retailers and bars throughout Michigan.

“We get calls and e-mails on regular basis asking when we’ll have MICHIGIN® back,” says Jon O’Connor, co-owner and co-founder of Long Road. “It’s definitely helped us reach new consumers and new retail and restaurant accounts.”

MICHIGIN’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 is then redistilled with a variety of Michigan botanicals, including Beaver Island juniper, lemon verbena and fennel from Visser Farms in Zeeland, and Galena hops from the Michigan Hop Alliance in Northport. Batch No. 2 includes the addition of mint from Ham Family Farm in Allendale, Michigan. The resulting gin is unlike any other and offers a fresh taste of Michigan from start to finish.

Juniper is commonly sourced through spice purveyors and originates from Europe or the Pacific Northwest. It was a family connection late last year that tipped off the Long Road team to the abundance of the berry on Beaver Island, the largest island in Lake Michigan approximately 30 miles northwest of Charlevoix. Despite the extra work that goes into producing MICHIGIN®, the team insists the resulting gin and the connection to Michigan farmers and Beaver Island make it all worthwhile.

“Picking juniper is a hard job – but there’s no better place to do it that on the Island,” according to Kyle VanStrien, co-owner and co-founder of the distillery. “It’s one of the most beautiful places in Michigan and the residents of the Island have offered a warm welcome each time our team visits!”

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 flavors lead the way at first taste and gradually shift 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 Wednesday, November 1, the distillery is hosting a MICHIGIN® Release Party to celebrate the new spirit. From 4 pm to midnight, guests will be able to enjoy 50% off gin cocktails and have their first opportunity to purchase bottles of Long Road MICHIGIN® to take home.

Long Road MICHIGIN® will also be available in statewide distribution for licensed retailers, bars and restaurants beginning the week of October 30.

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

Original Aquavit Long Road Distillers

Long Road Distillers Named Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery in the United States

Local distillery takes top honors in the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards Contest

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Internationally acclaimed Grand Rapids distillery, Long Road Distillers, has taken home top honors and was named “Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery in the United States” as part of the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards. Over their two year history the distillery has gained lots of attention for their award-winning, locally-sourced and craft distilled line-up of spirits, including gins, vodkas, aquavits, and whiskies.

Long Road Distillers topped a list of 20 nominees from around the country that were carefully chosen by a panel of American spirits experts. The public then had the opportunity to vote for their favorites over the course of four weeks. The nominating panel included Emily Arden Wells, editor and founder of Gastronomista, Brian Christensen, publisher and editor of Artisan Spirit Magazine, Laura Johnson, founder of You & Yours Distillery and craft cocktail blog Distillerista, and Arthur Shapiro, writer and publisher of Booze Business and author of Inside the Bottle: People, Brands and Stories.

“This is an incredible honor for us,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and founder of Long Road Distillers. “We have a ton of respect for every nominee on the list, and some have been leaders in our industry for years. To even have had the chance to compete against them was a big deal for us.”

The distillery is quick to recognize how this award is different from past honors, and credits not only their team members, but also their loyal customers, guests and followers.

“Unlike some competitions where the judging takes place behind closed doors, this contest put the power in the hands of those that enjoy our spirits and have supported us over the past few years,” said Kyle VanStrien, co-owner and founder of Long Road Distillers. “We’re humbled by this win and proud of our team for constantly living our mission of crafting world-class spirits right here in West Michigan!”

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 and at over 700 retailers, bars, and restaurants throughout the state of Michigan.

Wendy Peppercorn Long Road Distillers

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.”

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

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.

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