Internationally recognized Grand Rapids distillery, Long Road Distillers, announced global acclaim at the “largest gin tasting event in the world”. The distillery was awarded a Double Gold medal for Long Road MICHIGIN® at The Fifty Best Gin tasting event. Long Road MICHIGIN® was named “Best Gin in the World”, taking home the top honors for the distillery for the second straight year. In 2016, Long Road Dry Gin was named “Best Gin in the World” at the competition.
The award-winning-90-proof spirit is the first gin to be made from 100% Michigan ingredients, starting with red winter wheat grown by Heffron Farms in Belding, MI and juniper hand-picked on Beaver Island. Other botanicals include lemon verbena and fennel from Visser Farms (Zeeland, MI), lemon balm from Creation Farms (Beulah, MI), and galena hops from the Michigan Hop Alliance (Northport, MI).
Spirits from around the world were entered into the Fifty Best event, including international brands. Eighteen 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 MICHIGIN®, which provided hints of vanilla, lavender, dried violet, honey and more.
“MICHIGIN® was long in the making,” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and founder of Long Road Distillers. “We had a plan for it even before we opened our doors, but it took us nearly two years to find all of the ingredients for our first batch. Once we discovered the quantity and quality of juniper on Beaver Island that we needed to serve as the primary botanical, we knew we were onto something special.”
In addition to the honors for MICHIGIN®, Long Road Bartender’s Blend Gin was awarded a Double Gold Medal and Long Road’s Dry Gin won a Gold Medal.
“Gin continues to be one of our favorite spirits to make and share with others, “said Kyle VanStrien, co-owner and founder of Long Road Distillers. “It’s a category that gives distillers a lot of freedom to experiment and try new things. All three of our gins are distinct from what’s in the market now, and from each other, and we’re more committed than ever to innovate and explore new flavors in the future!”
Long Road’s no-shortcuts approach to crafting spirits and a dedication to using locally sourced ingredients has earned them numerous honors on the awards circuit and 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 600 retailers, bars, and restaurants throughout Michigan.