Food Service & Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Retail

Craft spirits maker releasing bourbon

November 4, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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Long Road Distillers bar
Long Road Distillers in northwest Grand Rapids features cocktails, farm-fresh food and to-go bottles. Photo via

A local distillery is releasing its first batch of bourbon.

Grand Rapids-based Long Road Distillers said it will begin selling batch No. 1 of Long Road bourbon whisky at 4 p.m. on Tuesday on site, at 537 Leonard St. NW.

The bourbon whisky is the fourth release in the distillery’s Wayfarer’s Whisky Series, and customers will receive 50 percent off whisky cocktails.

The bourbon

Long Road bourbon whisky is made from three mash bills, or recipes, with varying parts of corn, red winter wheat and malted barley from Heffron Farms in Belding. The mashes were aged in barrels and blended together.

Long Road has used more than 500,000 pounds of Heffron Farms grain since April 2015

According to law, bourbon must be made in the U.S. and contain at least 51 percent corn, while being aged in charred American Oak barrels and remaining under a specific proof. 

Bourbon has risen in popularity the past 10 years, according to Long Road Co-Owner Jon O’Connor.

"We're excited to release this full bodied and full-of-flavor bourbon to the world,” O’Connor said. “It's proof that careful distillation and respectful treatment of the spirit throughout the aging process results in a more authentic taste.

“We put everything into getting this one just right, starting with the grain we source from a farmer we know by name." 

Long Road

Long Road Distillers opened in 2015 as Grand Rapids’ first distillery.

Long Road owners O’Connor and Kyle VanStrien strive to make every one of the company’s spirits from locally sourced Michigan ingredients.

Since the distillery opened, Long Road has won a multitude of international awards, including Best in Show for Long Road aquavit at the Denver International Spirits Competition. 

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