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Craft spirits maker releasing whiskey and brandy

November 14, 2016
| By Pat Evans |
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Gray Skies Distillery craft spirit and cocktail mixer
Grand Rapids-based Gray Skies Distillery says its craft spirits are "a distillation of the Midwest, Michigan, Grand Rapids and our neighborhood." Photo via fb.com

A Grand Rapids distillery is releasing two specialty spirits.

Gray Skies Distillery, at 700 Ottawa Ave. NW, will begin selling its Michigan Single Malt Whiskey and Apple Brandy this week. The spirits will be on sale Tuesday and can be pre-ordered on the company’s website.

Both spirits are being released in packages for Cocktail Week GR. A package includes a bottle of liquor, four slate coasters and a set of tasting glasses.

The spirits are the result of the distiller's 500-gallon batch process, using whole Michigan grains that are milled into flour on site, said Steve Vander Pol, co-owner, Gray Skies Distillery.

Whiskey

Gray Skies started the process for the Scotch-style whiskey with malted barley from Pilot Malt House, and the distillery said it is the first to use the malt house’s Peanut Butter Toast malt.

The whiskey is aged six months in 15-gallon barrels to "smooth the edges but not cause the unique grain flavors to recede,” said Brandon Voorhees, co-owner, Gray Skies Distillery.

The company's Cocktail Week GR package with the whiskey is $60.

Brandy

Normally made with a base of hard apple cider from cider yeast, Gray Skies' Apple Brandy starts with rum, yeast-fermented apples.

“Many distilleries partner with a hard cider company and bring in someone else’s hard cider to distill,” Voorhees said. “We wanted to have full control over the flavors of the finished product and fermented the apple juice ourselves.” 

The base cider was distilled twice, then aged in rye whiskey barrels.

The company's Cocktail Week GR package with the brandy is $55.

Gray Skies

Gray Skies Distillery opened its distillery and tasting room this spring.

The company has grown its lineup from two spirits to seven, including varieties of gin, vodka, whiskey and rum. 

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