Warning: all puns intended.
To celebrate its new relationship with distributor, Imperial Beverage, Grand Rapids’ own Long Road Distillers is releasing its Straight Bourbon Whisky statewide on Sunday. If you’re going to sin, you might as well sin locally—the two-and-a-half-year-old whisky was distilled from grain grown at Heffron Farms in Belding and Pilot Malt House in Byron Center. Now that’s a spirit-ual experience!
“We opened almost three years ago. About that time, we made the whiskey we’re releasing now. It’s made with all West Michigan grains that we milled onsite at our Leonard Street location,” says Kyle VanStrien, owner of Long Road Distillers. “Bourbon’s a funny thing. People like it because of the sharper edges but we also have a pretty heavy dose of red winter wheat that contributes some really nice vanilla, butterscotch toffee taste to the bourbon. But, it definitely has that nice sweet corn flavor and aroma. It mixes really nice. lt sits really well.”
Because more than 800 Michigan bars, restaurants, and retailers purvey Long Road’s spirits, they are easy to find (and even easier to drink). With the new distributor on board, even more thirsty Michiganders will be able to wet their whistles with local whisky, vodka, and gin. Grand Rapids’ teetotallers in remission can taste these along with a handcrafted collection of cocktails and foods at the Long Road Distillers' tasting room on Leonard Street.
Throughout the state, Imperial Beverage has established itself as a premier purveyor of craft beer, fine wines and ciders, and a growing selection of artisan spirits. A longstanding member of the Michigan beverage distribution community, Imperial was established in 1933 after the repeal of prohibition. It has grown from a one-county beer distributor to a top ten wholesaler employing 330 people at four locations: Kalamazoo, Livonia, Ishpeming, and Traverse City.
“It’s really nice to be able to partner with a Michigan-owned, family-owned distributor,” VanStrien says. “We can drive down to Kalamazoo to meet with them. Their door is always open to us.”
And, hopefully, so is the bottle.
Written by Estelle Slootmaker, Development News Editor
Photos courtesy Long Road Distillers