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


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.

Long Road Distillers

We will be closed on Saturday, July 4 to spend time with family and friends. Be sure to stop in any day this week to pick up a few bottles of LRD spirits to get you through the Holiday weekend.  Happy Fourth of July!

Long Road Distillers

Come get a sneak preview of one of our ArtPrize artists – The Diving Bell – an indie-folk band out of Chicago, as they visit to check out Long Road and play a stripped down show!

The Diving Bell is named after a proto-submarine that sailed near Panama in 1869 and was left to rust there. Behold the Bitter Monument, the Chicago band’s first EP tracks its journey of exploration, invention and discovery. The Diving Bell began performing in early 2014, and last year performed live on WGN Radio and at venues including Lincoln Hall and House of Blues. The Diving Bell consists of husband-and-wife duo Steve and Clare Hendershot, along with Kevin Jones, Charles Murphy, Graham Gilreath and producer Joshua Robinson. Steve Hendershot’s songs have been featured on the HBO TV show True Blood and earned a national songwriting award from the Independent Artists Company.

Join us for a cocktail and dinner and enjoy The Diving Bell Sunday, June 21 at 7 pm!

Long Road Distillers

We’re proud to announce the Wayfarer’s Guild!

Everyone is on a journey—the difference is how you take it. While most are worried about the destination, wayfarers take pride in how they get there.

If you’re a wayfarer, you’re one of us. And since you’re one of us, why not make it official? Join the Wayfarer’s Guild and enjoy all the perks of the road less traveled.

Guild Benefits for Year 1 Include:

  • Long Road branded, individually-numbered, wooden coaster to use while enjoying drinks at LRD (we believe in serving cocktails correctly, and a proper cocktail requires proper glassware)
  • Guild night at Long Road with 1/2 off select cocktails and 15% off food
  • $1 off cocktails any other day
  • Choice of custom Wayfarer’s Guild t-shirt OR Wayfarer’s Guild glass
  • Special Guild-only events with access to limited release spirits and special private tastings and tours
  • LRD sticker to prominently display on your guitar case, laptop, Trapper Keeper, or mode of transportation.
  • A special invitation to a sneak-peek soft opening event prior to the Grand Opening.

There are only a limited number of Guild Memberships available, so secure your place on the journey and your coaster number now.

Follow this link to join the Wayfarer’s Guild: http://goo.gl/SHVHvX

To address the most commonly asked question: we look forward to opening very soon, but a firm date has not been set. Equipment is finally arriving, over 2 months later than the manufacturer had promised. To ensure that you’re first through the door, prior to the public grand opening, join the Wayfarer’s Guild today!

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