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Grand Rapids, Mich – 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 distillers raspberry liqueurLong 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.

 

Michigin

Grand Rapids, Mich – 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.

 

Grand Rapids distillery, Long Road Distillers, will release a series of brand new whiskies made in partnership with four Grand Rapids breweries. They will be released each month over the next four months. The first in the line-up of the Long Road Beer City Whisky Series, Mitten Country Strong Malt Whisky, will be available at the West Side distillery beginning at 4 pm on Tuesday, May 23, as part of the distillery’s 2 Year Anniversary Celebration.

longroad distillers

“We’re proud to be part of the craft beverage scene in Grand Rapids,” said Jon O’Connor, Co- Owner and Co-Founder of Long Road Distillers. “We credit the breweries in this City with laying the groundwork for folks like us to open up and be successful – they’ve earned us the title of Beer City USA and we wanted to create a product that celebrated the collaborative nature of the industry here.”

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 four whiskies in this series, Long Road acquired brewers mash from each brewery and distilled it into malt whisky on their 500 gallon Vendome Pot Still. After each beer was distilled into whisky, it was aged in new American Oak barrels for 12-24 months.

Long Road Distillers has partnered with four Grand Rapids breweries for the initial year of 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 Black Squirrel Peated Porter), and Greyline Brewing Company (Greyline Solshine).

Each whisky will be released in-house at the distillery over the course of four months in extremely small batches ranging from 100 to 200 bottles per batch.

The first release in the series, Mitten Country Strong Malt Whisky, will be available beginning at 4 pm on Tuesday, May 23 at Long Road’s 2 Year Anniversary Celebration. Up to 40 bottles of the whisky will be available for reservation for the public by signing up for a brief tour and tasting, guided by the production teams of Long Road and The Mitten, and will include a side-by-side tasting of Mitten Country Strong IPA and the Mitten Country Strong Malt Whisky.

“We’re excited to share this collaborative spirit with others,” said Kyle VanStrien, Co-Owner and Co- Founder of Long Road. “There’s nothing better than working with friends to create something unique and new. I think these whiskies will excite everyone from the craft beer aficionado to the adventurous whisky drinker!”

 

Grand Rapids distillery, Long Road Distillers, will release a series of brand new whiskies made in partnership with four Grand Rapids breweries. They will be released each month over the next four months. The first in the line-up of the Long Road Beer City Whisky Series, Mitten Country Strong Malt Whisky, will be available at the West Side distillery beginning at 4 pm on Tuesday, May 23, as part of the distillery’s 2 Year Anniversary Celebration.
longroad distillers
“We’re proud to be part of the craft beverage scene in Grand Rapids,” said Jon O’Connor, Co- Owner and Co-Founder of Long Road Distillers. “We credit the breweries in this City with laying the groundwork for folks like us to open up and be successful – they’ve earned us the title of Beer City USA and we wanted to create a product that celebrated the collaborative nature of the industry here.”
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 four whiskies in this series, Long Road acquired brewers mash from each brewery and distilled it into malt whisky on their 500 gallon Vendome Pot Still. After each beer was distilled into whisky, it was aged in new American Oak barrels for 12-24 months.
Long Road Distillers has partnered with four Grand Rapids breweries for the initial year of 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 Black Squirrel Peated Porter), and Greyline Brewing Company (Greyline Solshine).
Each whisky will be released in-house at the distillery over the course of four months in extremely small batches ranging from 100 to 200 bottles per batch.
The first release in the series, Mitten Country Strong Malt Whisky, will be available beginning at 4 pm on Tuesday, May 23 at Long Road’s 2 Year Anniversary Celebration. Up to 40 bottles of the whisky will be available for reservation for the public by signing up for a brief tour and tasting, guided by the production teams of Long Road and The Mitten, and will include a side-by-side tasting of Mitten Country Strong IPA and the Mitten Country Strong Malt Whisky.
“We’re excited to share this collaborative spirit with others,” said Kyle VanStrien, Co-Owner and Co- Founder of Long Road. “There’s nothing better than working with friends to create something unique and new. I think these whiskies will excite everyone from the craft beer aficionado to the adventurous whisky drinker!”
 

long road distillers

Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers will release a new seasonal gin, MICHIGIN®, on Monday, February 6 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.

The limited-release MICHIGIN is the first gin to use all Michigan ingredients. While the distillery works regularly with local farms to source ingredients, juniper, the ingredient that distinguishes gin from other spirits, proved challenging to find. “We’ve been planning MICHIGIN since before we opened our doors two years ago, but we were struggling to find a source for Michigan-grown juniper, a non- negotiable ingredient when it comes to gin,” said Kyle VanStrien, Long Road Co-owner and Co- Founder.

MICHIGIN’s base spirit is distilled from red winter wheat from nearby Belding, Michigan, milled on site at the distillery on Grand Rapids’ West Side. It was then redistilled with a variety of Michigan botanicals, including lemon verbena and fennel from Visser Farms in Zeeland, lemon balm from Creation Farms in Beulah, and Galena hops from the Michigan Hop Alliance in Northport. 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 wasn’t until sitting around a campfire with family over the summer, discussing different botanicals used in Long Road spirits, that a Michigan source for juniper was revealed to VanStrien.

“I mentioned in passing that we were on the hunt for local juniper,” said VanStrien, “and my cousin stopped me and said that it was everywhere on Beaver Island where she grew up!”

Less than a month later, VanStrien and business partner Jon O’Connor were on a small plane headed to Beaver Island, Lake Michigan’s largest island, 30 miles northwest of Charlevoix, Michigan. After a short scouting visit, it was clear finding enough juniper wouldn’t be a problem. The bushes are so prevalent on parts of the island, they’ve become a nuisance for many residents.

During the last week of September, 2016, a dozen members of the Long Road staff set out from Grand Rapids to harvest juniper berries on the island, collecting nearly 200 pounds over a two-day period. The team weathered 15-foot waves on the two-hour ferry ride and chilly rain while picking, but according to O’Connor, the journey was well worth it.

“What started out as strictly a juniper-picking trip turned out to be a great opportunity for our team to work together on a product that epitomizes our core values and our shared vision for crafting world class spirits from local ingredients,” said O’Connor. “Not only that, the finished product is unlike any

other gin on the market due to the unique flavors we were able to extract by using local juniper and distilling it fresh.”

MICHIGIN, initially, has the familiar aroma of fresh pine and juniper berries, but quickly transitions into scents of cucumber, cedar, vanilla 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. It’s sure to please in a gin cocktail, on the rocks, or all by itself.

On Monday, February 6, 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 February 6.

 

GRAND RAPIDS – Over the course of the 11 days spanning Cocktail Week GR, Grand Rapids’ only distillery, Long Road Distillers, played a huge role in the week’s events.  

The backbone of a cocktail is in the quality of the liquor.  To prove just that, Long Road hosted distillery tours at a discounted rate throughout the week, sharing with patrons the process it takes to make its different liquors.

Long Road’s beautiful distilling facility houses multiple-story, shiny gold-colored tanks towering skyward.  While on the 45 minute tour, patrons were able to taste gin during its distilling process as well as a tasting of five different liquors following the tour.

Long Road also hosted a few events educating people on how to make a cocktail.  They occupied their new second floor, to create an intimate learning experience.  While on the second floor, you also get a magnificent view of the distillery below.

A similar event to this took place at the Downtown Market, where guests were shown how to make a cocktail using all ingredients from the market itself.  After the demonstration, guests were encouraged to shop the market to make the cocktails again at home.

All across town, participating restaurants joined together to create a Pair and Share.  Many of the cocktails at the participating restaurants featured Long Road liquors in their drinks.  

MittenBrew

Kyle Vanstrien, owner of Long Road Distillers said, “It is an awesome thing to continue to promote cocktail culture that has been lacking forever.  As well as it is exciting to be a part of 30 venues partaking with five other venues using our liquors in their cocktails.”

Not only could you find Long Road’s liquors in cocktails around town, the distillery figured it should have a couple drinks of its own to join in on the fun!  Sourcing all ingredients from local suppliers, Long Road’s drinks are ever-changing with the seasons.  Appropriately enough, calling one of their Pair and Share drinks “Berry’s Last Call,” using the last blueberries of the season with their house gin and local additions.  My personal favorite, “Orange and Stuff,” surprisingly doesn’t have any oranges in it whatsoever, yet delightfully tastes like an adult orange julius. This is either a mistake or genius. I say genius.  And last but not least was “Peared Up,” boasting their vodka.

There are plenty of events scattered around town, featuring Long Road Distillers, still left in Cocktail Week GR leading up to the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer and Food Festival this weekend at the Devos Place.  Check out the schedule to see where you can still catch some delicious drinks and learn more about the beautiful science behind a cocktail.

Jon O’Connor and Kyle VanStrien took a long, and detoured, road to opening Grand Rapids’ first distillery. The pair have a passion for local and spirits and it shines through now that Long Road Distillers is open. Join Pat Evans on a conversation with the two passionate Westsiders from Grand Rapids.


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