Internationally recognized Grand Rapids distillery, Long Road Distillers, has taken home top honors for the second year in a row 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 three-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, whiskies, and liqueurs.
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 ofGastronomista; Brian Christensen, publisher and editor of Artisan Spirit Magazine; Ziggy Eschliman, founder of ZigStyle and award-winning radio host; Kevin Gray, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Bevvy; Eric Grossman, a food and beverage writer and author of Craft Spirits; and Jack Robertiello, a writer and acclaimed wine and spirits judge.
“We’re excited to share this honor with our friends and supporters for a second year!” said Jon O’Connor, co-owner and founder of Long Road Distillers. “We have a ton of respect for every nominee on this list, and we’ve admired them as leaders in our industry for years. To be nominated with them is honor enough – but to top the list is truly humbling!”
O’Connor and fellow co-owner Kyle VanStrien are quick to recognize how this award is different from past honors, and credit not only their team, but also their loyal customers, guests, family and friends.
“Unlike some competitions where judging takes place amongst a few individuals, this contest offers those that enjoy our spirits around the country an opportunity to show their support,” said VanStrien. “We’re proud of our team for constantly living out our mission of crafting world-class spirits right here in West Michigan, and always pushing the boundaries of what can be made from local agriculture!”
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 their Aquavits and liqueurs. Their spirits can be found at the distillery on Grand Rapids’ West Side and at over 1,000 retailers, bars, and restaurants throughout the state of Michigan.